Council cuts hours City Hall is open to the public

Officials justify opening later, closing earlier by citing lack of traffic
Ozaukee Press staff

If you plan on visiting Port Washington City Hall, you will have fewer hours in which to do so.

The Common Council earlier this month decided to reduce the hours City Hall is open by an hour.

The building is now open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays — opening 30 minutes later in the morning and closing 30 minutes earlier in the afternoon.

City Administrator Tony Brown said the biggest reason for the change is the fact that people aren’t visiting City Hall as often as they used to.

“There has been a decrease in foot traffic since the pandemic,” he said. 

And while it was expected there would be an increase in visitors as the pandemic eased, particularly with contractors seeking permits, “This has never picked back up,” he said.

Ald. Jonathan Pleitner said he had no problem opening at 8 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m., but he questioned the earlier closing time.

“Four o’clock seems a little early to me,” he said.

“Between 4 and 4:30 (the previous closing time), there’s not really people who come in the building,”  Brown said. “People just don’t come in anymore for different things.”

Reducing the hours City Hall is open will give employees needed flexibility, Brown said, adding that may also help the city recruit and retain employees.

He noted that many employees don’t take a lunch break and some face challenges getting to work by 7:30 a.m. because of child care situations or because they’re caring for elderly parents.

But, he added, just because the building isn’t open as much as in the past, employees will still be working full time.

Because they won’t be interrupted by residents, he added, employees may be better able to focus on their work.

Just because City Hall is closed doesn’t mean employees aren’t working, Mayor Ted Neitzke said.

“It’s still an eight-hour day,” he said. “City staff is in there when they need to be.

But I am surprised by how few people I see entering the building.”

If the reduced hours become an issue, he said, they will likely change again.

“If there’s a demand, they’ll be adjusted,” Neitzke said.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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