MAYVILLE — The outdoor pool came to the council again Monday night. This time it was in the form of a resolution for direct legislation. The council voted it down 4-0. Alderpersons Scott Mastalish and Al Voss were absent from the meeting.
The petition would require the city to “provide all funds necessary” to reopen the outdoor pool for the 2011 season. The pool, which has been closed since 2008 because of flooding damage, has been looked at for alternative uses as the city did not budget for operational costs and the time limit on FEMA money is running out.
“The statute requires the common council to do one of two things,” said Philip Eckert, city attorney. “Either pass the requested direct legislation or submit that proposal to the city’s electors; however there are four exceptions to that requirement.”
If the resolution for direct legislation falls under one of those exceptions the council wouldn’t have the authority to pass the resolution or submit it to the public as a referendum. According to Eckert, the resolution falls under the second exception as well as the fourth exception
“The second exception is that the proposed resolution compels the repeal of the existing ordinance or resolution that is true because it really calls for a partial amendment of the budget ordinance.”
The fourth exception is that a petition cannot modify statutorily prescribed procedures. According to Eckert, this petitioned resolution would modify council procedure for modifying the budget.
“What the statues require with respect to a municipal budget is that it can only be modified by a 2/3 vote of all of the council members not just 2/3 of a quorum,” he said. “If the council chose to submit it to the electors for a vote, the proposed resolution would be adopted by a vote of the majority of electors of the city. It would be in direct conflict with the statutory requirements. The council cannot authorize an amendment (to the budget) by any other means.”
Eckert mentions however that if the petition for direct legislation was made prior to the budget being approved that the council could have voted it in or submitted it for the citizens to vote on.
Regardless of the council’s vote, supporters of the pool still hope to have the pool reopened through other means.
“I am against this action,” said Wendy Metke, the woman who headed up the petition. “I took this very seriously to do this direct legislation petition and during the preparation process.”
Metke worked with the government accountability board as well as contacted Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen about the issue that is near and dear to her heart and supported by the hundreds that signed the petition.
“I am willing to go all the way, even if it has to go before a judge,” she said.