By Dave Fidlin


Nearly 150 residents offered up feedback to the City of Whitewater during the first month of a new online platform aimed at giving an additional mechanism for communication.

Kristen Mickelson, the city’s public relations and communications manager, came before the Common Council on Sept. 5 and shared early results from POLCO, the online platform that gives residents an opportunity to weigh in on a series of municipal issues.

POLCO technically has been in use for several years, though it has been in a beta, or testing, phase. Since its official launch July 25, the city has gone full throttle with the effort, marketing it on the city’s website, social media and other avenues.

Mickelson provided the council with a breakdown of POLCO responses yielded at the close of a sample period that run from the launch to Aug. 9.

In its rollout phase, city officials have asked users a series of questions to help prime the pump. One of the first questions — asking respondents if they felt Whitewater offered a strong sense of community — provided mixed results.

Forty-eight users answered the question, Mickelson said, and 58.3 percent answered “yes,” while the remaining 41.7 percent replied, “no.”

Few of the 51 respondents answering a question on the city’s public access channel said they considered it appointment viewing. A quarter said they watch Whitewater Community Television.

Mickelson also furnished the council with a range of demographic data and said a number of additional questions are planned on POLCO in the months ahead.

In other recent business, the Common Council appointed two residents — Andrew Crone and Greg Majkrzak — to the Plan and Architectural Commission. Crone and Majkrzak will serve as alternates on the panel and will step in on an as-needed basis.

The council also finalized the proposed addition of a new voting ward, following a pair of township annexations in May. A first reading of the new ward was reviewed in August. A second, and final, reading occurred at the Sept. 5 meeting.




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