Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update: What happened at the Aug. 21st Council meeting

To follow the agenda and analysis and see my previous analysis of the agenda.

Election of President Pro Tempore. Councilman McGuire nominates Councilman Carter Todd to the position of President Pro Tempore. Councilman Harmon nominates himself.  Council lady Moore nominates herself. President Pro Tempore conducts the Council meetings in absence of the Vice Mayor. It is an honorary position and only rarely does the President Pro Tempore get the opportunity to preside. Councilman Todd is elected by a vote of Todd 20, Harmon 14, and Moore 5. (see 12:24-17:48) Most of the councilmen I most often agree with voted for Todd.

As anticipated and necessary, the two proposals to amend the charter are deferred. With Sheriff Hall announcing his office does not intend to continue the 287(g) program, I am not sure that RS2012-377 is any longer necessary.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-214  by Councilman Tygard which would restrict the Metropolitan Government’s maximum contribution to the Partnership 2020 economic development program to no more than twice what all other governmental entities contribute combined is withdrawn. Tygard explains why he is withdrawing the bill. To see Tygard's explanation see 32:46 in the above video.

To me, it seems Metro pays the bulk of the expense of business recruitment but new development goes to Cool Springs or other communities. I think the Council should take a hard look at this program. Are we getting what we are paying for?  I was glad to see Tygard introduce this bill and am disappointed he withdrew it. Apparently the Mayor exerted pressure and Tygard did not have the votes to pass the bill.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-215, on second reading, by Councilman Stites which prohibits the use of Metro funds to purchase or erect signs that identify the name of an elected or appointed official passes. This is a good bill. Unfortunately, it is amended to exempt infrastructure signs. Infrastructure signs are those that are erected naming the Mayor and district Councilmen when, for instance, a section of sewer is replaced or a sidewalk is built. I am glad to see this bill pass, but the Mayor and district council members should not be exempt from the bill. No elected officials should get free adverting at taxpayers' expense.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-218  which provide for a temporary reduction of sewer charges for customers within the area of the combined sewer overflow (CSO) having green roofs on their buildings passes. (see 41:10) The combined total of the cap is limited to $500,000 a year. A proposed amendment submitted by Metro water services would make the credit available only for privately-owned properties. Several Council members wanted government buildings to also be eligible for the credit and they can be heard voting "no" on the voice vote on the amendment but no one called for a recorded vote.  The way I see it, the amendment was a wise amendment. Since government has no bottom line, how can you incentivize government to save money?  Water and sewer is a part of Metro government.

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