City council approves new four-way stop; discusses ATT flagpole and IT audit
by Lori Adler, reporter
The Rhinelander City Council held their regular meeting Monday, and among other topics for discussion, conducted a public hearing on a new proposed four-way stop.
According to citizens in attendance during Monday’s public hearing, the intersection of Dorr and East Ocala streets has many safety concerns. Two different comments were made regarding near misses at the intersection, which is why a four-way stop is being proposed. The ordinance has also been posted online and received public feedback in favor of the new ordinance. Following the public hearing, the council voted on the ordinance, which passed unanimously.
Recently, the ATT tower used to display a very large American flag has raised some concerns. The tower, which was specifically designated by the city when it was constructed for use as a flagpole, has had some issues. Panels have had to be replaced due to storms, and the raising and lowering of flags during state or federal flag proclamations is both difficult and time consuming. Due to these concerns, an agenda item to discuss the discontinuance of use of the tower as a flagpole was placed on Monday’s city council agenda.
Discussion of the merits of the flagpole took place, and a citizen comment assured the council that many Rhinelander residents were against the removal of the flag. As the main concern was regarding the raising and lowering of the large flag, it was mentioned among council members that the original contract with ATT had included the installation of an electric motor to move the flag, but ATT did not install the motor due to cost.
Since the motor was a stipulation of the agreement with ATT, interim city attorney, Hector De La Mora, noted that he would like to review the contract and see if the motor issue could be addressed since this would solve the flag raising and lowering issue and allow the tower to continue to be used as a flagpole. The council moved to have Attorney De La Mora review the contract and advise the council at the next meeting.
City Hall has had a number of issues in recent weeks regarding their information technology. Several council members, as well as citizens, have expressed problems accessing the city’s website and email. As a recent city council meeting alderperson Dawn Rog requested city administrator Daniel Guild look into having an outside IT firm conduct an audit of the system.
According the Guild, a formal audit has yet to be conducted due to needing more information from the council regarding the scope of the audit as well as a dollar amount to spend. However, engaging an employee from the Rhinelander police department, Data Systems Administrator Tara Tessman, several problems were discovered in the city’s IT system and have recently been addressed.
Tessman was present at Monday’s meeting to explain the issues and discuss how they were addressed. Alderperson Rog took issue with Tessman’s report, stating that while she did feel that Tessman was knowledgeable and skilled at her job, it was not a formal audit conducted by an outside firm, as had been requested. Guild responded and agreed it was not a formal audit, but noted that he, however, utilized a knowledgeable city employee who helped him identify and solve the problems, all at no cost.
Costs of a potential IT audit were discussed among many council members, who felt the cost may be quite high for that type of service. Councilman George Kirby, however, moved to have Guild create a request for proposal (RFP) and obtain bids on an IT audit with a cap of $5,000. While many alderpersons felt this dollar amount was far too low for such an audit, the motion passed. Guild stated he will produce the RFP requesting a bid for an independent audit costing no more than $5,000 and ask the bidders outline the scope of services they would provide for that dollar amount.
The next regular meeting of the Rhinelander City Council is scheduled for Monday, July 8, at 6 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.