The Nerk Informer (7/25/16)
On Monday, July 18th, 2016, at 7pm, the following transpired:
Members in attendance: 0 absences. Approximately 30 citizens attended.
Rule 11 Legislation:
a. Resolution No. 16-64: spending money, with a request to vote on the measure on the 18th.
* $3,500 – EMS Grant.
Commentary: This was brought up at the end of regular legislation.
Result: Two day reading rule was waived and the measure was passed, both unanimous without controversy.
Under the first section for citizens’ comments:
A few citizens, including myself, addressed council. I chose to speak out in favor of the amendment to Ordinance 16-29 that Jeremy Blake was planning to offer. I even expressed that I thought some of Mr. Fraizer’s counterproposals were good ideas. In the end, I stressed that we need to do something to increase revenue, as sitting around and doing nothing as our services and infrastructure are neglected is irresponsible. Furthermore, I criticized the idea that one member had floated at the July 11th Ways and Means Committee meeting which suggested that we should consider privatizing our firefighters – among some other ideas – if we don’t go part-time. I noted that one such way that a city could have its citizens pay for such fire services was via increases in home owner’s insurance. Long story short, I adamantly oppose the privatization of any public service, since the collective is better served when we work as one to ensure the safety of one another.
On to the legislation:
1) Ordinances (2nd Reading):
a. 16-29: a proposed income tax increase of .25 – which would set the income tax rate at 2% - to pay for streets and the “capital improvement needs” of our safety forces. To be accompanied by a resolution, as required by State law, to put this to a ballot question for the people of Newark to consider.
* Can not be used for buildings.
* Of the .25 increase, .15 is to go towards streets, .05 to the fire department, and .05 to the police department.
Commentary: Blake offered his amendment, to increase the rate to 2.25%, the additional increase being split between fire and police for personnel. The opposition and support for this were split along partisan lines, with Marmie expressing his to-be-expected universal opposition to any tax increases, and members such as Johnson noting that he didn’t think he had enough time to research Blake’s proposal. Bubb wanted to know if the administration could postpone this vote until the Spring, but the Mayor noted that November elections were the cheapest time for the city to put a measure on the ballot. Also, despite what Councilman Marmie has previously stated about earmarked funds, Law Director Sassen pointed out that earmarked funds voted on by the citizens can not be changed by council without another vote by the people. The vote to amend came down to a tie, which President Ellington broke with a “no” vote. Then, Mr. Fraizer offered an amendment which would have reduced the proposed increase to 1.9% instead of 2%, combined with a 10% reduction in the tax credit offered to citizens working out of the city. Mr. Fraizer becomes the only vote in favor of his amendment.
Result: The final vote was 6-5 in favor, with Rolletta joining those in dissent, citing his opposition to a tax proposal which won’t increase funding for improving staffing conditions for safety forces, and Fraizer also opposed because of his philosophical position that a 2% tax rate goes too far. Ellington broke the tie, expressing his hope that the Mayor and the administration puts forward a solid effort to getting this passed and pieces together a plan of action. Marmie later ridiculed Ellington for supporting the increase without first guaranteeing that the Mayor would meet his apparent self-made preconditions.
2) Ordinances (1st Reading):
a.16-30: proposed annexation of about two acres from Newark Township.
Result: Held for a vote in two weeks.
3) Resolutions (2nd Reading): a. 16-56: with a deadline hanging overhead, the ballot issue of the proposed tax increase lifting the rate up to 2%.
Result: Passed 8-2, with Rolletta and Marmie voting no.
b. Resolution No. 16-57: spending money.
* $450 for “General Services” out of the NSP Revolving Loan fund to help pay for demolition.
Result: Passed unanimously, without controversy.
4) Resolutions (1st Reading): a. 16-59: With an emergency clause, an attempt to get the Licking County Auditor to certify Mr. Fraizer’s proposed one mill property tax levy.
Commentary: Rolletta expressed his opposition to the proposal, because property taxes affect all citizens regardless of their income. Marmie noted that while he would ultimately oppose the proposal, he supported getting “information” for a fellow member of council. Cost criticized this flurry of warring tax proposals, particularly Fraizer’s three-pronged approach as appearing “indecisive” to the people of Newark. Fraizer passionately defended his proposal, insisting that Newark match other comparable communities. Blake criticized the provision earmarking funds for Parks and Recreation, pointing out that the administration had not expressed a desire for such.
Result: Proposal failed 3-7, with Marmie, Fraizer, and Rath serving as the only yes votes.
b. 16-60: spending money (amounts unknown, as the Finance Committee meeting minutes do not reflect this legislation).
Result: Two day reading rule was waived unanimously, and the measure was adopted along same lines.
c. 16-61: spending money.
* $4,782.15 – for Summer Youth Program.
Result: Held for a vote in two weeks.
d. 16-62: spending money.
* $50,000 - OPT.
* $50,000 – Vehicle Maintenance.
Result: Expedited by a unanimous vote, and passed in same manner.
e. 16-63: With emergency clause, allowing Service Director Rhodes to establish a TIF agreement with the Kroger Marketplace.
Result: Passed unanimously.
Under the second section for citizens’ comments:
Nothing notable except that one citizen went on rant about fluoride in the water.
Under Miscellaneous comments:
From the Administration,
Law Director: Nothing.
Mayor Hall: Nothing.
Other than the usual, Marmie responded to my criticism, insisting that privatized firefighters wouldn’t cost citizens anything, not even additional insurance. Fraizer pointed out that he had to vote against the tax proposal on council as a representative of the people, but that he will vote for it in November as a citizen. Council adjourned at 8:13pm.
What to expect at the next Committee Meeting, when the following committees meet at 5:30pm on :
1) Finance, to consider:
At least one proposal on spending our money.
2) Safety, to consider:
3) Street, to consider:
a. A discussion about some alley vacation proposals.
Dealing with conforming Newark’s public health regulations.
6) Economic Development
7) Capital Improvements
9) Ways and Means:
At this point I have nothing much to add, except that I will be gradually adjusting the format of this report in the coming months as I prepare for some personal changes and ready myself for a school board run.
See you all next time. Thanks for reading.