City Council To Discuss City Parks Charter Ordinance

The Fond du Lac City Council will meet Wednesday (6/8/2022) and will discuss a proposed Charter Ordinance, that appears to be designed to create increased transparency when it comes to public/private partnerships within City parks.

The proposed ordinance would require the current Common Council and and any council moving forward, to provide notice and the ability for the public to express their opinion for any proposal to create or enter into new long term lease agreements (5+ years) with private entities for
constructing a building in City Parks.

Pursuant to Section 26-5 of the Code of Fond du Lac and Section
66.0101, Wis. Stats., any change to this Charter Ordinance would require notice to be published in the newspaper and a public hearing to be held, before amending this charter ordinance. As with any charter
ordinance adopted pursuant to Wisconsin’s Home Rule, it can be placed on the ballot as a referendum pursuant to the City and the State Codes referenced herein.

In a memo sent to Fond du Lac City Manager Joe Moore, City Attorney Deborah Hoffman said, ” A charter ordinance is the most permanent of all local legislative actions and may only be altered or nullified by another charter ordinance. A municipality cannot adopt a charter ordinance to deny the effect of a statute which is of uniform statewide
concern. A City might choose to pass a charter ordinance when they want the process to be deliberative and to ensure that the ordinance cannot be quickly and easily changed.

“When a governing body adopts a charter ordinance, it must do so by a two-thirds vote of the members elect. The ordinance is not effective until 60 days after its passage and publication. If within 60 days a petition signed by electors of the city equal to not less than seven percent of the votes cast for governor at the last general election is filed in the municipal clerk’s office, the charter ordinance must be submitted to a referendum and approved by a majority of the voting electors
before it becomes effective.”

It is likely the proposed Charter Ordinance is a result of the failed Lakeside Park project, in which a public/private partnership was proposed, and if successful, would have placed a multi-purpose building on the Lighthouse Peninsula.

The proposed plan faced numerous obstacles along the way, and ended with the current council overturning the plan.

Council is set to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City/County Government building.