Lobbyist registration ordinance sent back to committee
By Heather Graves
BROWN COUNTY – A proposed ordinance requiring lobbyists to register with the county before engaging in any lobbying of Brown County elected officials, committees or boards is headed back to committee after many supervisors had unanswered questions.
A majority vote at the board’s Wednesday, July 17, meeting sent the proposal back to the executive committee for further review.
The proposed ordinance would require lobbyists to complete a Lobbyist Registration Form (LRF) and pay a registration fee of $20.
Anyone in violation would be required to pay a fine of $100 to $250, per violation.
There was discussion on how the ordinance would be enforced and who would be responsible for the enforcement.
The proposed ordinance didn’t specify an enforcement policy.
“Who is going to enforce the penalties on this you have to have this in the ordinance? Or you don’t really have much of an ordinance,” said Vice-Chair Thomas Lund. “There are a lot of questions on this. If we are going to go ahead with this then we need to refer it back to get that set up correctly instead of just having it out there as a penalty when we don’t even know how it would be enforced.”
Not everyone saw the need to refer it back to committee.
“I don’t see the point of referring this back,” said District 18 Supervisor Aaron Linssen. “The ordinance as it is works, it functions, it does the job it’s meant to.”
District 9 Supervisor Patrick Evans said in his 17 years on the board, he has only been contacted by a lobbyist four times.
“None of those did I feel like the lobbyist changed my mind in any way,” Evans said. “Then again, I don’t have any problem with these lobbyists having to register. I definitely think it can be tightened up a little bit.”
Some supervisors questioned the need for an ordinance at all.
“We have a solution looking for a problem,” said District 12 Supervisor Dave Landwehr. “This hasn’t been an ongoing issue. We are just creating more government, just for the sake of creating more government.”
Corporation Counsel David Hemery said he structured the ordinance off the current ordinance for the City of Green Bay.
“With very few changes, this is the City of Green Bay current ordinance and the reason that was done was because I didn’t want lobbyists to have different rules in different buildings they are walking into,” Hemery said.
Hemery said this was a quick draft after a request and he thought the ordinance would spend more time in committee.
“These are good questions, and my advice is to refer back to committee for more work,” Hemery said.
Fox River trail parking
More parking along the Fox River Trail between De Pere and Greenleaf will soon become a reality.
This after supervisors unanimously approved a resolution giving the parks department the go-ahead to purchase two tax-delinquent land parcels.
Currently there is a lack of legal parking areas along the eight-mile stretch causing patrons to park illegally on town roads and in farm fields, creating an unsafe environment.
The county is now the owner of the two parcels in the Town of Rockland following unpaid taxes.
These parcels will be developed into parking and trailhead locations.
The parks department will purchase the parcels for a cost of $918.
It will then be reimbursed by the Friends of the Fox River Trail, which offered to donate the full acquisition costs.
Brown County Parks manage the Fox River Trail, which spans approximately 21 miles.