And Now, Another Episode of "As the Council Churns!"
In our previous episode; A proposed ordinance (A-08-12) for an appropriation of $250K to fund the drug task force restart (10K), the city’s new tow-in lot ($50K) and $190K for purposes not yet named was introduced for 2nd & 3rd readings by D5 Councilwoman Ms. Benedetti.
Following which a lively discussion between (primarily) CM’s Messer & Coffey concerning the advisability of handing the England administration a “blank check” for $190K.
Although testimony from several sources (including previous statements from City Controller Kay Garry) that the dollars could not be spent without further council approval, Dan successfully squelched the $190 and the Mayor’s office walked away with only $60K!
And now, tonight’s episode;
Going in, this the second September meeting of New Albany’s Common Council looked to be short & sweet. The only agenda items were a report for CM John Gonder concerning his Housing Committee, a resolution for the transfer of funds (R-08-40), and the 1st reading of a bill to annex 40 acres of fringe property to expand our industrial park area (X-08-01).
The Gonder report was without incident as after two meetings nothing of consequence has occurred save the realization that code enforcement in any meaningful way is not happening. (Old news)!
During the public comments section, there was only one gentleman who approached the podium to speak about the smoking ban only to find that it wasn’t a topic of discussion for this evening.
No Public Officials had anything to say and the Mayor (i.e.; Deputy Mayor Malysz) presented an update on the city’s post hurricane cleanup activities.
Then the fun began. R-08-40 (a transfer of funds request of once again, $250K) to pay for the cleanup thus far was introduced by CM Coffey.
Coffey came out of the box in ardent support of this appropriation without question. “We have an emergency and the people need help!” he quipped.
Some council members asked why this request differed from A-08-12 (the one from the previous meeting for the same amount).
The Coffey response was the $190K asked for on September 4th, had no specific earmarks attached.
CM Messer countered that this one did not either. It was merely a blank check for “cleanup”. There were no specifics on to whom, for what, and how it was to be distributed.
CM Coffey came back once again that this was an emergency and the need was dire.
CWM Benedetti offered that if the full $250K had been approved at the last meeting, the administration would be 2 weeks closer to having at least $190K in hand to deal with the current issue. In addition, none of it, thewn or now, can be distributed without further Council approval.
About this point both CM’s Coffey & Price pointed out to Ms Benedetti that she needed to listen and learn!
She responded that she was learning everyday and she still didn’t see the difference between this request and the aforementioned one.
This makes the second meeting in a row that she has been reprimanded publicly (by CM President Gahan at the last meeting) for daring to voice an opinion.
If I may interject, you’d think she’d understand the status quo doesn’t appreciate being challenged by freshmen CM's any more than they do the public.
However, on the other hand I say with gusto “YOU GO GIRL!!”
CM Price then said that this should be a “wake up call” for the city. “We need a rainy day fund just for such events” he continued. “This just underlines the need for the city to watch its pennies! (Paraphrased quote)
In the end after nearly an hour of quibbling, the measure passed unanimously.
Then came the introduction of X-08-01 (the Grantline Industrial Park West Annexation) for 1st reading.
Mr. Malysz presented the details including the need for infrastructure & utilities to serve the annexation and it also passed with little ado.
The gavel dropped and Mark & I retired to the city hall annex (i.e.; Studio’s) for the regularly scheduled post-meeting meeting.
We thought our cohort (Bluegill) was going to join us but he apparently got detained for further discussion with various council persons & city officials following our departure.
Perhaps we’ll hear more on that later.
One final note; Mr. Malysz said he’d been assured by Duke Energy that all power for New Albany will be restored by sometime Saturday. And stay away from those power lines still entangled in downed trees!
OH! and did I mention this was one long meeting for just two agenda items??