Hudson City Hall rtsa

The Hudson Common Council hosted a public hearing during its regular meeting, Monday, Dec. 5, on the diversity committee.  

“I just want you to know, and for it to be a matter of public record, that we’ve seen a sharp increase in harassment. In some cases overtly anti-semetic and in other cases just plain heckling,” a member of Beth Immanuel Messianic Synagogue in Hudson said. 

She noted a “sharp increase” in harassment over the last two years against her religious community in Hudson.

“It is an issue,” she said, countering previous comments from Alderperson Randy Morrissette and Mayor Rich O’Connor about the lack of diversity issues in the city. 

Six communities members brought forward concerns for the current suspension of the diversity committee for about half an hour. A few folks appeared over Zoom, but many joined the council members at city hall. 

Alderperson Sarah Bruch has been a guiding force in continuing the conversation of diversity, equity and inclusion in the city and asked that a public hearing be held about the future of the committee. 

The council voted on Oct. 3 to hold a public hearing to gather comments on the potential future of the committee after suspending the committee in August. One of the claims from council members was an inability to find qualified people to join the committee. 

Another Jewish member of the Hudson community posed a question to the council – how are you defining diversity and why were seemingly qualified people turned away after applying for the appointments? 

She was among a few that she said seem to have a number of diverse backgrounds – educational, economic, cultural. 

“Hate is ignorance,” she said, and the diversity committee can be so educational to move beyond it. 

Another person who applied for the committee and never heard back posed similar questions. “I’m just curious why the committee wasn’t repopulated with the citizens who chose to step forward and serve and help Hudson become welcoming to all people?”

Bruch created a revised version of the committee guidelines aimed at helping in progress and discussion, proposing a few key adjustments to the committee guidelines and policy. Her suggestions have not been adopted, but are currently a place to bridge conversation from. Some suggested changes include – 

  • Title: from the “Diversity Committee” to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.” 

  • Meeting: Quarterly, or as needed. 

  • Size: Five city residents, cut down from nine. 

  • Membership: Chosen by the five social institutions serving the community that represent different social diversities -- Hudson Area Ministerial Association (religious); the Chamber of Commerce (economy); the YMCA (family); the Hudson Board of Education (education); the Common Council with the assent of the mayor (government). A resident during public comment requested a high school senior be included in a list of eligible applicants. 

Previous Alderperson Paul Deziel, as someone who worked on the original diversity committee guidelines and policy, commended the “upgrade” in front of council. He provided a number of suggestions, many of which were echoed by other residents. 

Kerry Reis, a member of the Hudson Inclusion Alliance, was one of the many to speak during the public hearing. She is not convinced the diversity committee is necessarily the answer, however, doing nothing isn’t the answer either. 

Her suggestions to improve the impact of a diversity committee included aligning with the work already being done to bring it to a new level, like with the Golden Rule committee, faith, arts, library and service groups. Or, the committee could develop educational programming. 

Another commenter put it simply and summed up the comments of  – “To ignore a diversity committee and to not have one just doesn’t make sense.” 

A “no brainer,” Alderperson Joyce Hall said. 

Many on the council commented in support of continuing the conversation. There is now, though there wasn’t always, widespread support of a diversity committee, whether or not it’s “tethered” to the city. 

“It affirms to me that we do need to keep moving forward,” Bruch said after hearing comments from constituents. “We are the leaders… and we’ve heard from folks that they’d really like this to continue.” 

Bruch has indicated she will continue to work on the policy with staff and bring it back to council for further discussion. 

2023 street maintenance 

The 2023 Street Maintenance Project was outlined by staff and approved by council. 

There are a couple of tactics used to maintain roads. 

Crack seal is a process that seals the existing cracks in the asphalt pavement. City Engineer Dean Chamberlain, who has resigned from his post at the city, broke it down into a few steps: 

  • Routing the crack, meaning grinding in a small channel where the crack is, for smaller cracks to be adequately sealed or blowing out any dirt or debris in any larger cracks. 

  • Applying a hot rubberized-asphalt sealant material to seal up the crack. 

  • Applying a “blotter” material to keep the sealant from sticking to car tires while it is cooling off typically toilet paper is used. 

Chip seal comes before a fog seal. The chip seal is an application of “a protective layer to the asphalt pavement to provide more pavement longevity,” Chamberlain said. They typically last five to 10 years, depending on the traffic.  

Again, this is done in a few steps:

  • Clean off the street surface. 

  • Apply a layer of asphalt emulsion, essentially an oil-based glue, to the existing street surface. 

  • Apply a layer of small rock chips to the top of the asphalt emulsion. 

  • Roll the rock chips into the asphalt emulsion layer. 

The fog seal is applied about a week after the chip seal is completed. It’s a layer of oil to lock in the rock chips from the chip seal. 

“You can do a chip seal without a fog seal, but we have seen better results from doing both together,” Chamberlain said. 

There is still over $1 million budgeted for 2023 to address additional, potentially more dire streets, after the about $800,000 worth of repairs scheduled thus far for 2023. Here is what to expect:  

Crack fill only

  • Stageline Road from Carmichael Road to the hospital roundabout. 

  • Industrial Street from Crest View Drive to Hanley Road. 

Chip seal, fog seal only

  • Croix Crest Drive. 

  • Darnold Drive. 

  • Southpoint and Summit Ridge Streets. 

  • Vine Street from First Street to Wisconsin Street.

Crack fill, chip seal, fog seal

  • Carmichael Ridge Streets.

  • Briarwood Court.

  • Knollwood Court.

  • Knollwood Drive from Oakwood Court to Wisconsin Street. 

  • Oakwood Court

  • Tower Road from Coulee Trail to Willis Miller Drive.

  • Maxwell Drive from the connection to Carmichael Road to the south end. 

  • Hanley Road from Carmichael Road to Highway 35. 

  • Williams parking lot.

  • Livingstone Road. 

Third, Laurel reconstruction 

Staff revised plans for the Third Street and Laurel Avenue project which include reconstructing the retaining wall holding up the streets around the bluff area and reconstructing the roadway from Blakeman Boulevard to the north edge of the existing wall. 

Funding for this project was set aside in the previously approved 2022 Capital Improvement Plan and the recently approved 2023 plan, as well as with a Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant. 

The project will be opened at the end of the year for bids, which will be reviewed by the public works committee and then sent to the finance committee, followed by common council in February. 

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