Ordinance changes galore: What does that mean for residents in Prescott?

Posted 2/15/22

PRESCOTT – The Prescott City Council at its regular meeting on Feb. 14 approved several new ordinances, discussed the city administrator performance review and made comments about potential …

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Ordinance changes galore: What does that mean for residents in Prescott?


PRESCOTT – The Prescott City Council at its regular meeting on Feb. 14 approved several new ordinances, discussed the city administrator performance review and made comments about potential applications and future ordinance changes.

The council debated and approved a number of ordinance repeals and replacements, as well as . rst readings of some ordinances. The . rst repeal and replacement is in regards to the room tax ordinance that has been discussed at length during previous council meetings.

At previous meetings, the tax has been described by the city as a tax that is collected on all transient lodging 30 days or less; the way it works is that paid overnight guests book lodging at an overnight facility, they spend their money in the local economy, they pay that extra room tax on top of the lodging bill and the money is used by the city for tourism initiatives.

This ordinance will include any stay


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that is under 30 days at hotels, Airbnbs and Vrbo stays within the city of Prescott.

The council approved the . rst reading of the sewer connection and construction fees ordinance. “The sewer connection fee is set at $4,750 and one of the things we had revisions on was addressing who pays the fee and it also addresses when the fee is paid,” said City Administrator Matt Wolf.

The ordinance will be placed on a future agenda for a . nal vote.

The next ordinance implements language into the municipal code relating to signs and sign usage. There is currently no verbiage listed anywhere about where signs can be used and how large they can be.

This ordinance was previously in the municipal code, but the council believes it was dropped due to a technical issue.

“In 2010 when we electronically codi- . ed our code, one of the things we believe occurred was that there was a large section of our sign ordinance that was dropped off as a result of that,” Wolf said.

That same verbiage was reworked slightly and reimplemented from the ordinance that was in place in 2010.

Next the council approved an ordinance replacement related to . rearms. The ordinance now ensures a . ne for anyone who enters a public building within the city of Prescott who conceals a . rearm.

There is a current state statute addressing this issue, but it was further added to the city’s municipal code after approval. The ordinance committee worked with Chief of Police Eric Michaels to add this ordinance change.

“Per Wisconsin state statute it is illegal to carry a . rearm within a public building,” Wolf said. “However, we did not have anything within our city code so we talked with Eric and one of the things that he requests is that we can actually put it as a municipal . ne and get it on the books and added to our code so that it is stated speci . cally.”

The last ordinance to be repealed and replaced was in relation to a developer’s deposit. This ordinance only underwent a . rst reading and will be on a future agenda for second and third readings.

Wolf explained how this would work. “We can’t really guarantee what projects are going to cost us in terms of the development, so we looked into a developer’s deposit policy which is essentially as part of any development, we would require an escrow fund up front and we take that money in addition to the application fee and then we put that into a separate account,” Wolf said. “Then as the project develops, we draw upon that deposit and whatever is remaining at the end of the project, we return what money is left over and we would keep a detailed record of what those funds were spent on which can be provided to the developer.”

Next the council approved a resolution to adopt the city fee schedule and establish the developer deposit policy. There was no discussion on this item.

Alderperson Dar Hintz next presented an update to the council and public from the Personnel Committee’s city administrator performance review.

“The review went very well,” Hintz said. “Maureen Otwell started several months ago requesting inquiries from staff members and input from council members wanting to . nd out where Matt (Wolf) was in his communications and what processes he was using and all of the information Maureen compiled was very positive.”

Following the performance review, the council moved into new business and public comment. Alderperson Pat Knox brought up a concern mentioned to him within his neighborhood.

“There is a mobile home trailer that sits on the corner of Canton and that frontage road and it appears to be unoccupied and a couple folks in my neighborhood mentioned to me that if it was a parked car on the street or in the yard, we would be able to do something about it and address with the individual who owns that property,” Knox said.

Hintz reassured him the Ordinance Committee is currently working on a way they can talk directly with home and property owners about this type of issue.

“We are working in the Ordinance Committee to address and take a deeper look at all of our zoning, including residential ordinances, and we are in the process of addressing,” Hintz said. “Also we have asked staff to go through some of these particular properties and that was mentioned as well, so hopefully we will be able to have a greater discussion with some of the property owners about that.”

Wolf also provided a comment during this time about the wastewater treatment plant.

“We are having an issue at our wastewater treatment plant with people putting down disposable wipes,” he said. “Although manufacturers say they are disposable, unfortunately, they do not break apart and they end up clogging up and causing a lot of problems with our treatment plant, so if people could hesitate from putting them down the toilet that would be great.”

Other business

•The council approved a special event application for a Fourth of July celebration at 502 Lake St., which will allow the applicant to have music and . reworks. The council made sure to approve this application as a one-day only event.

•The meeting went into closed session to discuss items listed on the agenda for riverfront properties and farm properties.

•Nikki Anderson from Leo’s Landing Marina, spoke on behalf of the business to discuss its lease agreement. The council made note to put this issue on the next Parks and Public Property Committee meeting.