APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Appleton City Council met Wednesday night to discuss approving a resolution to help Afghan refugees resettle in the area.
During the meeting, Alderperson Nate Wolff of District 12 says the refugees are coming to the area with just the clothes on their back and he thinks it is important to discuss the issue and do as much as possible to help.
Alderperson Wolff goes on to say, in the near future, the council should have a discussion with organizations, churches, etc. that are helping refugees to get feedback on what they need more of and if the council could do more.
Sheri Hartzheim, Alderperson of District 13, says she supports housing Afghan refugees in the Appleton area, however, she says she has issues with the lack of call to action and the disagreement among members of the body.
“A faction of us believes that using this body to address social issues is very important and they want to speak to those issues. And I appreciate that we spoke to those issues and I mention that as well in the committee meeting, but just as all of us in the City of Appleton don’t agree on everything – all the members of this body don’t necessarily agree on everything,” says Hartzheim.
She goes on to explain that the social issues and agenda items like this put them in a conundrum that breaks apart the body, putting a divide between people. Hartzheim explains the body needs to work on this issue.
The other faction, she says, believes this body is for the business of the city. At the end of her speech, Hartzheim says she will not vote for the resolution because of these reasons.
Alderperson Alex Schultz of District 9 followed up Hartzheim’s speech by saying he doesn’t see this as a social issue and adds that the city is actively involved in looking for opportunities and communicating with world relief.
District 2 Alderperson Vered Meltzer contradicts Hartzheim by saying if the council cannot have a unanimous vote on every resolution – that is not truncating the sense of unity or the ability to be arm in arm. She explains, “that it is just a fact that people in the city don’t agree about everything… If the goal was to get a unanimous vote on every single resolution then that would not be democracy.”
Denise Fenton, Alderperson of District 6, says, “Part of the needs in our community are to ensure our reputation as a community that is welcoming to people – and to people in need.” She echos Schultz by saying it is not a social issue just to do the right thing.
In the end, the Appleton City Council approved the resolution to help 100 Afghan refugees resettle in the Appleton area.