I agree with most of what they have to say here:
And finally, this week was a resolution to turn the truck over to the city and disburse $2,900 in donations to the mayor. When a citizen, Jef Hall, questioned the appropriateness of the Mayor participating in the discussion from the dais and the overall appearance of the transaction, the Mayor and council member Dennis McHugh took umbrage.I disagree with the suggestion that funds should come from the Fire Dept's budget. This is a vital budget that can easily go over. If, at the end of the year, the Fire Dept has $10,000 left, they can pay back the general fund with their surplus.
The best, cleanest solution to the problem, as suggested by Hall, is for the council to make a determination that the fire truck has historic value to the city and buy the truck from Esslinger. They can designate the $2,900 in donations to a maintenance fund for the truck and write a $9,724 check to the Mayor.
But, this is an item for the entire city, so the funds should come from the general fund. Otherwise you could argue that the money should come from parks, if it ends up displayed there, or business improvement, if it is in parades, or any number of other places....
I also feel a separate fund should be opened to pay back the city, AFTER Mr. Esslinger is paid. This will allow fund-raising for the truck to be separate from any payments to Mr. Esslinger.
I also agree that:
The council can leave it to the voters to decide if Mayor's dalliance with the fire truck was appropriate.
I think purchase without approval followed by a demand for payment, yet terming it a donation was an act of hubris on Mayor Esslinger's part. However, if I was on the council and it was brought forward to purchase an historic artifact such as this for $10,000 I would most likely support it. My problem with this is not the act of securing the item, but the process followed.
Let's settle this, get the truck into the community and move on.
I will be forwarding a copy of my resolution to the Council and staff for consideration.
I hope the Oshkosh Northwestern will also agree that Mr. Esslinger should step down from the Council Dias for the debate on this resolution.