Janesville, Beloit councils to meet
IF YOU GO
The Janesville and Beloit city councils will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Beloit Public Library, 605 Eclipse Boulevard, Beloit.
JANESVILLE In what could be a first, the Janesville and Beloit city councils will meet Tuesday to enhance communication and look for ways to ways to work together.
Janesville Councilman Yuri Rashkin suggested the meeting. He said he had coffee with Sheila De Forest, a Beloit council member, and the two discussed how the two groups could best start a conversation.
They decided that getting the members together would be a good start, Rashkin said.
“I think it’s a communication issue as much as anything,” Rashkin said Tuesday. “We are two communities close to each other. We always talk about how we need to work together more.”
The communities already share some programs, such as neighborhood stabilization, and municipal issues, such as adjusting for shrinking state shared revenues and dealing with stray animals.
Larry Arft, Beloit city manager, said he doesn’t remember a joint meeting between the two councils, so this might set a precedent.
The cities already collaborate more than the public might realize, Arft said. That includes coordinating with the 911 emergency communications center to adopt digital narrowband communications by the end of 2012.
The cities and county also collaborate on grant administration in areas such as housing, neighborhood stabilization and lead abatement.
Arft said that while city and county officials meet regularly, Tuesday’s meeting is a way for elected officials to get to know each other, review how the cities work together and discuss ways to share services and support.
“Anything we might be able to do that would result in some efficiency and save money,” Arft said.
Good ideas from the meeting that require follow-up hopefully would mean another meeting to review that research, he said.
Eric Levitt, Janesville city manager, said the meeting would be a good way to exchange information.
Rashkin said it is important that the two cities think regionally.
“We are two communities next to each other that need more communication,” Rashkin said.
“I’d like to know why their farmers market is doing so fantastically well,” he said. “They have a college downtown. I’d like to know the impact that a college downtown has on their downtown area that seems to be doing so well.”
Beloit also has been successful in capitalizing on its riverfront, Rashkin said.
The communities might be able to look at shared services to lower costs.
“It’s long-term going forward,” Rashkin said of the meeting.