The Weekly Informer (6/12/16)

On Monday, June 6th, 2016, at 7pm, the following transpired:

Members in attendance: no absences. 15 citizens attended at the peak of the meeting, myself included. It happened to be the Mayor’s birthday, which was celebrated at the outset.

Under the first section for citizens’ comments:

One citizen was curious about the city’s liability with respect to damages caused by potholes. Another citizen lashed out at Law Director Sassen and the Police Department, claiming that they are guilty of “selective enforcement” and “selective prosecution”. They were particularly incensed about a string of incidents directly affecting them. Before leaving, the citizen also claimed that they are also suing the media for attacking their character. There was an understandable unease in the room.

On to the legislation:

1) Ordinances (2nd Reading):

a. Ordinance No. 16-13: making changes to the Safety Department’s (specifically in the Police Division) “position classification, pay range and department authorization tables” in replacing one police officer position with an Information Technology Specialist.

Commentary: Rolletta – seconded by Blake – attempted to amend the legislation to remove the provision which abolishes a police officer position. Fraizer said that he didn’t want to abolish a position, but that he was “[trusting the] chief”. The Police Chief responded that he saw “no advantage” no matter what Council did. Marmie said that there was plenty of precedence in abolishing unfunded positions and that there was no harm in this proposed action. Ultimately, the vote on the amendment failed 6-5, when Ellington, Johnson, Fraizer, Rath, Bubb, and Marmie voted no.

Result: Passed unanimously with further controversy.

b. None.

Commentary: None

Result: None

2) Ordinances (1st Reading):

a. Ordinance No. 16-14: with an emergency clause, allowing “$1,100,000 of bond anticipation notes” to refund “outstanding bond anticipation notes” used for the following: fire station #1 improvements (including demolition, professional design and property acquisition), city hall parking improvements, service complex construction improvements, and south second street bridge repair, together with additional fire station #1 improvements (phase one)”, and permitting more money to be spent on “fire station improvements”.

Commentary: None.

Result: Passed unanimously without controversy.

b. Ordinance No. 16-15: with an emergency clause: allowing “the issuance of $5,620,000 [in] capital improvement bonds” to refund some of our “outstanding bond anticipation notes” that were used for the following: “fire station #1 improvements (including demolition, professional design and property acquisition),($1,100,000), city hall parking improvements,($300,000), service complex construction improvements, ($200,000), and south second street bridge repair, ($600,000)”. Also, this will permit borrowing another “$1,000,000 to pay part of the cost of fire station #1 phase one construction improvements, and additional funds for fire station improvements ($3,400,000)”.

Commentary: None.

Result: Passed unanimously without controversy.

c. Ordinance No. 16-16: making further amendments to the vicious dog law.

* Changes classification of dogs which kills other dogs from “dangerous” to “vicious”.

* Changes vicious dog permit requirements from annually without specific deadline to make it annually every January 31st.

Commentary:

Result: Held for a vote in two weeks.

3) Resolutions (2nd Reading): a. Resolution No. 16-48: spending money.

* $500 for a deductible in damage claims on a command vehicle that was recently involved in an accident.

Commentary: None.

Result: Passed unanimously without controversy.

b. Resolution no. 16-49: allocating revenue collected from the hotel lodging excise tax (the “bed tax”).

Commentary: None.

Result: Passed unanimously without controversy.

c.

Commentary: None.

Result: .

d. .

Commentary: None.

Result: .

4) Resolutions (1st Reading): a. Resolution No. 16-50: spending money.

* $4,850 (appropriation of funds) for General Services (out of federal dollars) to replace a union custodian who is on leave with a non-union contractor (reportedly with permission of the union).

* $4,850 (disappropriation of funds) for General Services. Note: this is for the “same thing”.

* $1,550 for Termination/Paid Vacation.

Commentary: None.

Result: Two day reading rule waived, and passed unanimously without controversy.

b. Resolution No. 16-51: spending money.

* $500 (flower donation for City Hall beautification).

* $300,000 for Street Maintenance (from the Budget Stabilization then to the General Fund and then to Capital Improvements).

Commentary: None.

Result: Held for a vote in two weeks.

c. .

Commentary: None.

Result: .

d.

Commentary: None.

Result: .

e. .

Commentary: None.

Result: .

f. .

Commentary: None.

Result: .

g. .

Commentary: None.

Result: .

Under the second section for citizens’ comments:

A citizen remarked on the potholes in his neighborhood, and then I spoke, saying the following: “you are probably familiar with the move to amend movement that I am involved in, an organization that I actually helped create. For the last year or so we have been going at it trying to collect signatures to address the citizen’s united ruling by the Supreme Court. In 2014 we fell 110 signatures short of what was needed. The one silver lining about the terrible turnout of the 2014 General Election was that it lowered our threshold significantly so instead of needing 1303 signatures now we only need 1063. We strongly believe that we have that number but now we are trying to go for a buffer. I want to extend an invite to anybody who has not signed the petition yet. No matter what your party affiliation it is something that affects us all. This is our democracy that we are talking about and if you are as concerned as I am about the people’s voice being flooded out by this massive amount of money being pumped into our campaigns I strongly urge you to support this or at least the effort to put it on the ballot for people to consider it. Hopefully you would vote for it if it gets on there”.

Under Miscellaneous comments:

From the Administration, praising the work of the police department, sharing positive news about the Development Department remaining in good standing with one of the grant sources.

Law Director: Nothing.

Mayor Hall: highlighted some recent developments within the community.

Council:

Generally, a number of members felt it was important to speak positively about the police department and the law director. Generally, a few of them talked about recent community events. Councilman Blake expressed his desire for more community-oriented education in elementary school.

What to expect at the next Committee Meeting, when the following committees meet at 5:30pm on :

1) Finance, to consider:

a. Resolution No. 16-52: With a request to vote without a second reading, spending money.

b. Resolution No. 16-53: spending money.

2) Safety, to consider:

a. Ordinance No. 16-25: changing regulations of downtown parking.

3) Street, to consider:

a.

b..

4) Rules

a..

5) Service

a. Ordinance No. 16-19: “changing the zoning classification of…1621 North 21st Street [from a General Office District to a General Commercial District].”

b. Ordinance No. 16-20: “changing the zoning classification of…158 Myrtle Avenue [from a Single Family Residence Medium Density District to a General Commercial District].”

c. Ordinance No. 16-21: “changing the zoning classification of…807 N. 21st Street [from a Single Family Residence Medium Density District to a General Office District].”

d. Ordinance No. 16-22: “changing the zoning classification of…813 N. 21st Street [from a Single Family Residence Medium Density District to a General Office District].”

e. Ordinance No. 16-23: “changing the zoning classification of…819 N. 21st Street [from a Single Family Residence Medium Density District to a General Office District].”

f. Ordinance No. 16-24: “changing the zoning classification of…825 N. 21st Street [from a Limited Office District to a General Office District].”

6) Economic Development

a. Ordinance No. 16-18: “prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation”.

7) Capital Improvements

a..

8) Personnel, to consider:

a. Ordinance No. 16-17: amending the position classification, pay range and department authorization tables of the Department of Safety, Division of Fire by creating the classification of Deputy Fire Chief, and setting the compensation therefore, and abolishing one Assistant Chief position by attrition.

Final Thoughts:

The meeting lasted about 52 minutes. In my view, the vote on abolishing a police officer position in favor of an I.T. Specialist has some significance. If the position is unfunded, what harm could have come from leaving it alone while still creating the position the administration desired? Just food for thought.

See you all next week. Thanks for reading.


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