June Council Meeting

Finished up the June city council meeting about an hour ago. We made it to almost 8:30 … one of the longer meetings we’ve had in the last 18 months. It seems that the focus is on keeping the agenda items limited so that meetings rarely last more than an hour.

The FY20-21 budget did get approved, however it was not a unanimous decision (4-3), nor did it go completely unquestioned. For those who worry about such things, hopefully next year we will be in position to inform you early in the process of some of the more critical items so you have a chance to fully explore the issues and voice your opinions.

It looks like the current mayor and the city manager will be meeting with folks in Carlton Crest to discuss putting in a children’s playground instead of a picnic shelter at Hawn Creek park. In 2013, I was a member of the city’s ad hoc Parks Planning Committee, and after checking this week with a couple of the other members, it was determined that my memory was correct: We had prioritized a basketball hoop and playground over picnic shelter or even walking path for that park…and nothing was ever mentioned about a cement walking path. Folks in Carlton Crest need to speak up in support of the playground if they want to be sure that is what is installed.

On a note of concern to me, was the last agenda item: a discussion of a letter received by a city volunteer from the city manager.

During a planning meeting the volunteer had pointed out to commission members that many of our city’s residents have little faith in their city government’s ability to resist approving developer requests.

I think throughout our lives we’ve heard individuals who complain that the government officials have been “bought off,” and we all know that it’s more an expression of frustration and resentment from folks who feel disenfranchised, rather than truly believing that is the case. Unfortunately the folks at city hall chose to take the comments seriously and begin an “investigation” based on the assumption that the volunteer was the person making such comments.

Things got straightened out, and the volunteer cleared up the misconception, but as I said at the meeting: We have a hard enough time finding folks who are willing to volunteer for the boards and committees. When a phone call would have been sufficient to clarify the situation, why would you want to send them a letter that was easily interpreted as threatening?

We have a commission and committee that have, in the last couple of years, had a revolving membership, and after listening to the comments and explanations and excuses this evening for questioning this volunteer, I’m beginning to understand why that is.

As always, council meetings are a mixed bag…some good things get done, some not so good and right now we seem to be tilting in the wrong direction.

I hope the scales can be rebalanced after this November.

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