Full-Time Mayor? Readers' Reaction to Blogger's Suggestion Mixed
After a local resident suggested a full-time mayor may be the answer to the city's economic problems, city officials and residents are quick to offer a reaction to the idea. Vote in our poll on the subject and leave your own comments.
The issue of business and development in Port Washington has for years been debated by residents and city officials — with many vacant buildings in the downtown and throughout the city — and many opinions on the solution to this city's economic troubles have surfaced.
Resident Rik Kluessendorf on Wednesday questioned whether adding a full-time mayor to the city would help fuel the economy.
"This city wants to thrive, but just hasn't figured out how to do so," he wrote in his blog on Patch's Local Voices. "We have a very active Main Street organization, but even that has not done the trick. Our downtown just can't seem to get over the hump to be the bustling center of activity that it should be. Worse, the city hasn't invested nearly as much effort in any other part of town recently."
Residents reacted to the column with mixed feelings — but many agreed with the lacking economic atmosphere and the city's inability to make it better.
"I get a little depressed when I drive past the empty car dealership on Spring Street," Robert B. wrote on the blog. "The 'For Sale or Lease' signs on the land west of Sentry have been there so long they've probably needed to be replaced for being out in the elements. And the strip mall next to Sentry? A little depressing there, too."
Kluessendorf questioned whether the city had an official future plan for development, saying he was unable to find it on the website or elsewhere.
"The 2035 Plan has been on the city website since its approval by the council in 2009 and it addresses many of the issues (Rik) discusses or questions," City Planner Randy Tetzlaff told Patch in an e-mail. The PDF attached to this article is the final land use map plan provided by Tetzlaff; information is also available on the Department of Planning & Development portion of the city's website, though the map found there is the "preliminary plan map," he said.
"Better visibility into the council's long term plans will help everyone, the council, the mayor, the citizens, as well as prospective investors," Greg Huegerich wrote on the post. "To the question of a full-time mayor ... the main consideration would be this: What kind of impact would there be on the number of folks considering running? A full-time position would mean actually giving up another career to work for the city."
Some readers pointed out that rather than focus on blaming existing city officials, residents should perhaps become charged to help out.
"I do agree that Port Washington has its share of problems, especially developing the downtown area, but casting blame on the city administrator and advocating for a full-time mayor is not appropriate," Matt A. wrote. "Remember, it was the city council that voted to deny a liquor license to that lounge, not the administrator. Perhaps more proactive, rather than reactive civic involvement would be productive. As I write this, there is a vacant council seat for which no one has filed papers to run."
Tom Mlada was elected mayor of Port Washington last April. The mayor earns $7,500 and serves a three-year term.