Due to the absence of both Bluegill and the NAC senior editor, the Highwayman will take a stab at highlighting the events at the latest episode of our favorite soap opera, “Eternal Disconbobulation” (otherwise known as the New Albany Common Council meeting).
The meeting started off evenly enough with Police Chief Crabtree invoking the council once again for appropriations to support a drug task force for our fair city. It seems that Federal monies for the joint venture of the city, county & state police have run their course.
He also put in a request for two civilian employees to work with the new AFIS (fingerprint analyzing system) that has been approved for purchase.
Of course neither of these items were on the agenda for tonight so no action was taken, but the nine legislators were made aware of the need one more time.
CM Messer then brought up (again) the ongoing problem of abandoned junk vehicles’ scattered around our fair city and proposed yet another solution. There appears to be suitable five acre plot somewhere near the Mayor’s property that can be leased, enclosed, and secured for a paltry $50 thousand dollars.
CM Coffey of course questioned how soon the city could expect reimbursement from the sale of said vehicles. Again both CM Messer & Chief Crabtree had to remind those present of the multi step procedure for dispensing of them. The state requires that VIN numbers be checked for ownership & lien holders as well as whether they were or weren’t stolen before being cleared for auction or scrap.
Messer’s best guess was possibly a year or more for the bulk of them. Coffey countered that he felt the turn around should be much quicker what with the price of scrap at the moment.
CM Caeser chimed in to support Messer’s idea and the consensus was that he continue the investigation & report back at a later meeting.
Oh, and did I mention that Pat Harrison owns the property?
Deputy Mayor Malysz then rose to the podium to announce Mayor England’s exasperated desire to tend to the city’s rubbish & yard waste problems. The Mayor has edicted that the entire city will be yard waste free by the end of next week! (unless of course there proves to be so much of it that in runs into the following week)
Potholes, street signs, line painting, & street sweeping be damned! The people have spoken!
Furthermore following this purge, the city will be divided into four sectors and every Thursday the street department will choose one sector and pick it clean again in an ongoing effort to keep up with debris.
CM Coffey then introduced A-08-11 which was an ordinance to approve monies already in existence for the hiring of a full time city engineer.
The proposed salary for this position was $55K in round figures with 25% coming from the Storm Water Department, 50% from the Sanitation Department, and 25% from the City’s general fund.
CM Coffey defended the measure on the grounds that this person could perform duties now being contracted out. He reminded the Council once again that the same could be said for hiring a full time city attorney.
CM Zurschmiede inquired about the $75K that had previously been set aside to hire a Sanitation Department Manager. Carl responded that a portion of that money was being used to pay Brian Kessings salary. You will remember that he was recently hired to monitor EMC’s work (or the lack thereof) with the sewer & storm water infrastructure. Although never verified the assumption is that the remainder will make up the Sanitation Dept’s 50% contribution.
Kevin further asked if hiring another person was not a duplication of workforce. The Deputy Mayor’s answer was no. Although the new engineer would now be responsible for the work that Elizabeth Coyle currently does for the sewer & storm water system, he/she would also oversee the construction of our streets and other infrastructure. Ms. Coyle would remain as a member of the Sewer Board but would no longer be an hourly paid engineer for them.
I understand the watchdogs watching the watchdogs part, but who is watching the watchdogs?
In the end the ordinance passed muster with a 9-0 vote.
G-08-06 followed with what was the quote of the evening by CM Price. “I’m a little confused” he quipped about this issue which pertained to Economic Development Bonds for the Summit Springs Project.
DM Malysz referred to them as Industrial Development Bonds which would ultimately be purchased by the developer and would be paid for by TIF dollars generated by the project.
Again there was a bit of confusion voiced about the whole concept but CM Coffey voiced his approval and a favorable vote followed.
G-08-05 was the next victim on the chopping block and CM Price handed it back to CM Messer for introduction. There was a bit of discussion about whether CM Gonder should recues himself from voting on this issue but finally the Counsel’s counselor (Jerry Ulrich) indicated that he could find no problem with John voting if his conscience would let him.
It did and he did but to no avail. The measure failed on 2nd & 3rd reading with CM’s Caeser, Gonder, Messer & Zurschmiede voting for and CM’s Coffey, Price, McLaughlin, Benedetti, & Gahan against.
Who would a thunk it?
After the vote President Gahan announced a workshop would be held prior to the next meeting to discuss where to go from here on the redistricting plan and a committee of counsel members appointed to develop a one that is closer to even numbers than the one that is currently in force. You know the 8600 to 5300 one?
He further said at the same workshop they would discuss code enforcement and smoking bans, and revisit the tow in lot question.
Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like a whole lot of discussion of a wide range of issues in a short period of time.
Perhaps I misunderstood! Confirmation anyone??