Tonight’s council meeting
Here are my notes from tonight’s council meeting:
SSN number issue
Council discussed an administrative accident that caused 5 letters to be issued to residents with their social security numbers posted on the outside of the envelope. It appears to have been a Microsoft spreadsheet-related slip-up. These things happen. Council was concerned about the accident, but more concerned about the Finance Department’s response. The department issued a vague letter to these 5 residents that said an “error” had been made, and the resident should call in. Some of us believed that message did not adequately express the seriousness of the matter. We learned tonight, however, about a second letter that was sent after Councilman Lowdermilk expressed his concerns. The second letter fully explained the issue and outlined the remedies to be taken. Administrative oversight is an important function of City Council, and I’m glad we were able to help get things back on track.
Clerk of Court’s budget
Stow’s Clerk of Courts visited council to request her 2016 budget to be increased by $45,000. In the spring, we disallowed her request for a 14.5% increase, giving her office an increase of 8.5% ($71,000 more than the 2015 budget). She expressed tonight that our allocation would lead to a shortfall of $40,000. Clerk Colavecchio makes a fair point that labor needs will decline in 2017, when technology improvements will streamline a lot of time-intensive processes. But I still thought our original 8.5% increase was sufficient. Council approved the extra $45,000 by a 5-2 vote (Rasor and Lowdermilk voted “no”).
The administration asked for us to increase our spending on fiber-optic data to two fire stations–from 12 MB per second, to 50 MB/S. The cost would increase from about $12,000 per year to about $20,000 per year. To me, there was not a compelling reason why the extra data was necessary. But it was approved by a 6-1 vote (I voted “no”).
Tomorrow, construction crews will begin demolishing the bridge at the junction of Route 91, Fishcreek and Norton Road. This will cause some traffic issues, so please be aware of that.
Council will meet next on September 8.