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Council pares down committees

Superior's City Council opted for a leaner form of city government Tuesday night. The council chose to eliminate several committees and consolidate the duties of the historic preservation committee among the responsibilities of the Plan Commissio...

Superior's City Council opted for a leaner form of city government Tuesday night.

The council chose to eliminate several committees and consolidate the duties of the historic preservation committee among the responsibilities of the Plan Commission.

"We need to be as efficient as possible," said Council President Ed Anderson. "Lots of committees can create roadblocks to get things done."

With plans to revamp the city's comprehensive plan beginning in the fall, Anderson said it is logical for the commission to have oversight of historic preservation. The Plan Commission will bear responsibility for developing the master plan for the city, and it makes sense that the commission include the city's historic assets in the comprehensive plan, he said.

Anderson proposed eliminating several committees and council appointments to committees three weeks ago. Among those recommendations was the suggestion to consolidate historic preservation with planning.

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The newly formed Plan and Preservation committee adds two members -- a councilor and a citizen -- to the nine-member commission.

Because the historic preservation committee was created as part of the city's preservation ordinance, the city code had to be modified to make the change.

When specific historic preservation projects arise, Port and Planning Director Jason Serck said subcommittees of the commission can be created for the specific project.

Serck is hopeful the new citizen committee member has a vision for historic preservation.

Councilor Chuck Hendry said the historic preservation committee hadn't met in about a year, after some members resigned their posts because city officials decided to demolish the Palace Theater.

In addition to consolidating the duties of historic preservation and planning, the council eliminated the city's Barker's Island, Storm Water Flood Control, Vehicle Ad Hoc and Water Quality Advisory committees.

Existing standing committees with oversight of public works, and police and fire departments can handle duties of the vehicle committee, which approved new vehicle purchases for the city's fleet. The other committees, which oversaw redevelopment of Barker's Island and developed the city's stormwater pilot project and management plans, completed the work needed.

The council also eliminated appointments to the Lake Superior Designation committee, which accomplished its task of garnering a designation through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the liability claims committee, a citizen committee that determines the city's liability when a claim is filed.

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The council also cut its council appointment to the Lake Superior Toxic Reduction committee, which has not met in years.

Shelley Nelson can be reached at (715) 395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com .

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