Last night’s council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

City center committee – By a 6-0 vote, city council overrode the mayor’s veto on legislation regarding a committee to examine a future city center project. There has been a lot of discussion over procedure, but good procedure will hopefully lead to good results. The committee will give the mayor the opportunity to appoint 9 members from the community, and council will appoint 3. There will be 6 government representatives.

We heard more belly-aching from the usual suspects, asking for us to let the veto stand. We certainly could have done that, but the veto actually reduced the committee size, from 18 members to 15 members. In other words, council’s legislation expanded the committee (to 18 members), and the mayor’s veto would have shrunk the committee.

It’s now time to move forward to fill the committee, bringing in a diverse group of people from our community to provide input.

Storm water projects – Three years ago, the city faced three undeniable truths: (1) People’s houses were regularly flooding, exposing hundreds of our residents to tens of thousands of dollars in uninsured losses. (2) We had several million dollars of need, in order to store and divert storm water. (3) We didn’t have that money.

Today, we are wrapping up the initial $2.2 million of storm water projects.

It’s a great example of how government can work. How so?

First, raising the storm-water fee was a narrowly-tailored remedy; we only raised the revenue we absolutely needed. Second, it was fairly applied; we asked the business owners who contribute more impervious surfaces than the typical homeowner to pay more. Third, it was done collaboratively; I facilitated the discussions, together with Mayor Kline and Brian Lowdermilk, and council supported it unanimously. Fourth, it was executed properly; we have a great storm-water engineer in Mike Jones.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on October 10.