By Rich Palzewic
BELLEVUE – At its Wednesday, May 27, virtual meeting, the Bellevue village board discussed several items, including its loitering problem and an ordinance dealing with assessing fees for vehicle accidents.
Trevor Bilgo, a directed enforcement officer for the village, said loitering is an issue and spreading.
“It’s especially a problem in one area, but it’s popping up in other areas, too,” he said.
Bilgo said the cooler summers in the area lead to groups congregating.
“People are coming in from outside areas, setting up shop, staying for a while, and then when it gets colder, they are going further south for warmer temperatures,” he said. “They know where they can go, what the laws are and what jurisdictions are which. We need to clean up our language to cover all areas for loitering issues. These individuals are pushing the limits of where they can be. This area is growing, which means loitering is growing.”
Bilgo said the City of Green Bay has simple wording for loitering, and Bellevue needs that.
“We recently put a sign up in a problem area, and we didn’t realize the sign was placed within the city limits of Green Bay by about a foot or two,” he said. “They didn’t have a problem with where the sign was, but for the next meeting, I’ll bring some language to the board to look at – it’ll be similar to what the city has.”
Bilgo said there are steps in dealing with loitering.
“The first step is asking loitering individuals to move on,” he said. “If a sign is posted for no loitering, it’s simple, and we have the right to issue fines if need be; but right now, our language is too wishy-washy.”
Like Green Bay and Bellevue, Bilgo said De Pere also has some loitering issues.
“Sometimes, it’s easier for an individual to sit there and make $100 a day rather than get a job,” he said. “We recently had an incident where two individuals fell over due to methamphetamine issues – that’s a problem.”
He also said there have been incidents where loitering individuals have stuck their heads inside cars stopped in the area.
David Litton, interim fire chief, also spoke to the board about the village’s ordinance to bill for vehicle accidents.
The ordinance dates back to 2017.
“Since 2017 and going to April 30, 2020, more than $98,000 has been billed,” he said. “About $16,000 of that is still outstanding. Paying for the fire services provided during accidents can be achieved with monies from the general operating fund or a user fee. If the board decides it no longer wants to implement the user fee, you can never go back to it.”
Litton, also the fire chief in Green Bay, said the city doesn’t have a similar fee structure and can’t impose one because it wasn’t an ordinance before Act 10.
“What it boils down to is, does the board want to keep the user fee as is, or does it want to shift to all of the taxpayers paying through real estate taxes?” he said. “No one in this room wants to see property taxes raised. If we could impose this fee structure in Green Bay, we would have raised 10 to 20 times the amount the village did over the last three years. These fees are common throughout the country, and I strongly recommend the village keep the fee in place.”
Since the issue of the ordinance was simply discussed, no vote took place.