PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Village Hall soon will be reopened for public business.
Village Administrator Nathan Thiel on Monday night told the Village Board the current plan is to reopen June 29 for normal business hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thiel said a number of changes will be noticeable in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“(Those) will provide adequate safety to both the citizen coming into the building as well as to our staff,” he said. “We’re feeling comfortable to opening the facility.”
As for village meetings, which have been held virtually since shortly after the pandemic began, Thiel said that plan will remain in place for now.
The village is taking its direction on when to have public in-person meetings from the Kenosha County Division of Health, he said.
“(They) haven’t indicated a change to which phase we are currently in,” Thiel said. “Because of that, we will continue to maintain the virtual meetings at the present time.”
When the public does resume its business at the Village Hall, they will notice positive aesthetic changes, Village Board President John Steinbrink said.
“They’re going to be pleasantly surprised by all that work that’s been done there,” he said. “While (the Village Hall) has been closed, it’s not just sitting idle. There’s been painting and other work taking place that makes it looks pretty fresh in there. The staff has done a great job.”
Polling places combined
The board unanimously approved a motion to combine the village’s five polling places to one for the Aug. 11 Partisan Primary.
Residents who vote in-person that day will go to the Village Hall Auditorium, 9915 39th Ave., Village Clerk Jane Snell said.
This primary has a historically low voter turnout, she said, and that, combined with a large increase in absentee ballots, along with the ongoing safety concerns from the pandemic, makes the decision a sensible one, she said.
“It seemed to work very well in April that we had the polls here at the Village Hall,” Snell said. “We had all five polling locations represented here. They were clearly identified.”
Snell said there were 4,600 absentee ballots counted in April. The upcoming primary historically only brings a 20% turnout, which represents between 2,500-3,000 voters, she said.
The initial plan for the primary is to send out about 2,500 absentee ballots, which is an increase from the normal 500.
“We did learn a lot in the April election,” Snell said. “I thought it went well, and I anticipate the August election going just as smoothly.”
Snell said the plan is to have one week available before the election for in-person voting.
One change residents will see is an instruction sheet with the absentee ballots that will show the rules that need to be followed — namely that each has to be signed by a witness.
Ballots not signed are not counted, Snell said.
“It clearly shows the arrows indicating to the voter where they need to sign and what they need to do so they get that visual,” she said. “That’s going to go out in the August absentee mailing.”
Virtual meeting planned
The village will hold a virtual public meeting to update residents on the Village Green Center on Thursday, June 25, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Rinka, a design company out of Milwaukee, will present updated information on the village’s master plan, including general street layouts, proposed land uses and park and open spaces.
Online registration is available at www.PleasantPrairieWi.gov/go to. Thiel said there currently more than 150 people signed up to attend online.
“We’re excited for the community’s engagement and hope it will be a well-received presentation,” Thiel said.
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