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City of Winona website (12/02/2012)
From: Marie Kovecsi

Have you tried to get any information from the city of Winona website lately? It is a confusing experience and a bit of a time warp as information is out-of-date.

For example, a newspaper Public Meeting Notice was announced for a Public Hearing with the Board of Adjustment for the CD Corp request to increase the number of barges for frac sand shipped through the port. News stories announcing this and providing some background have been printed. But if you go to the city website... There is nothing posted to announce this meeting, no agenda provided, no public copies of the application to be discussed in the hearing. The meeting is this coming Wednesday, the 5th of December at City Hall at 5:00 p.m., less than a week away.

There also was a news article announcement for a meeting to be held this Monday, the 3rd of December at 5:15 in the Wenonah Room at City Hall. This meeting will provide information on the nonconformity agreement between the city and Biesanz. There is no information on the city website to announce this, provide any background or agenda. This meeting is on MONDAY, four days from now!

I tried to find this information from several links on the city website. When you follow 7 links to get to the Board of Adjustment Meeting Notices, the latest posting is for a meeting held on November 20th. Nothing on the meeting this Wednesday, six days from now. When you look up minutes for these meetings the latest posting is from the 7th of November.

If you have heard that the city needs members for the Planning Commission as well as other Boards and committees, it gets confusing to track down this information. If you follow links through the frac sand information, the openings are posted current as of 9/20/2011. If you follow links from another trail, the openings are current as of Sep 2012.

Several links, including the Port Authority link, give the message that “the button you are accessing has been taken off-line”. No further direction on how to access any information on our Port Authority.

For the Sep 24th meeting of the Planning Commission, there was no information posted on the website prior to the meeting. Yet at the meeting, the industry representative not only had the information for the Agenda but had also met with City Staff prior to the meeting to discuss certain points. What does this mean for citizen and public involvement?

Also on the 24th of Sep, I was checking minutes from previous Planning Commission meetings but the most recent minutes posted were from July 9th. I was told I probably should have called to find out this information. Why have a website then?

This website reflects all of us and should be useful for public information as well as for new residents, prospective businesses, etc. What is posted is difficult to follow (7 links to get to a site with old information, multiple links for the same topic that show different information) and badly out of date.

In a city with two universities, community colleges and major business operations, I think we can do better and definitely need better and current information for citizens. 


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