By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – Despite Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, which went into effect Aug. 1, the De Pere Common Council passed its own mask ordinance at its Tuesday, Aug. 4, virtual meeting.
Because the original ordinance didn’t pass with a unanimous vote at the July 28 special meeting, a second reading was required a week later.
“In light of what’s happened at the state level, I feel our ordinance should be superseded by the state’s mandate,” said alder Dean Raasch. “Mr. Mayor (James Boyd), at our last meeting, you said one of the reasons we needed to take action was because the state hadn’t yet. We can always bring it back, but passing an ordinance now that’s not effective and unusable seems like a silly thing to do as a council.”
Alder Amy Kundinger asked about the pros and cons of an mask ordinance with the state’s mandate in effect.
“If we don’t approve the ordinance tonight, we’d have to go through the whole process again if we’d need to bring it back,” said Kristen Johnson, city attorney. “That would open it up to more discussion and amendments. If it was passed tonight, it would be passed as presented – it would be on the books already.”
Alder Jonathon Hansen said with so much uncertainty at the state level, it was best for the city to pass the ordinance in case it was needed down the road.
“There’s a question on whether the governor’s order can withstand a potential challenge in the (Wisconsin) Supreme Court,” he said. “There’s a real possibility the governor’s order could be repealed, so I support adopting this ordinance so it’s on the books and ready to go.”
With a 5-3 vote, the ordinance was passed.
Alders Kundinger, Hansen, Casey Nelson, Shana Ledvina and Mike Eserkaln voted in favor, while Raasch, Kelly Ruh and Dan Carpenter were opposed.
The council also passed a resolution to establish penalties for violation of the face-covering ordinance, if it’s needed in the future.
The first offense would be $10, a second violation would be $25 and a third and subsequent infraction would be $50.
The fines would also be subject to additional penalties, fees and other costs required by law as included in the municipal court bond schedule.
In other news, Voyageur Park has a restroom building that will be replaced.
Instead of replacing the restroom building for a similar facility, city officials decided to replace it with a multi-use building, which will include restrooms.
The new building would allow for a wide range of public use.
The bid for the conceptual design of the multi-use facility at the park was awarded to the lowest bidder, Somerville, for $7,500.