Thursday, June 12, 2014

Council Meeting of 6/10/2014: The AMP put in the capital improvements budget meeting. How they voted.

It is almost unbelievable that the AMP was left out of the Capital Improvements budget and had to be amended in, but it was. Apparently it was a simple mistake and had been in the Capital Improvement Budget for the last six years, one senior Council member told me. The Capital Improvements Budget does not spend any money, but if a project is not already in the Capital Improvements Budget when it passes the Council, then to add it to the CIB later requires a two-thirds vote to amend it in and the move to amend in a project must be initiated by the Mayor, therefore it is very important to the Mayor or a councilman who wants a project funded to get it in the CIB.

The discussion of the CIB starts at time stamp 12:51 and the discussion of the AMP amendment starts at 16:49 and continues until the end of the meeting. Councilman Tim Garrett successfully sponsors an amendment to the amendment that adds the AMP funding back to the CIB, that removes the term "east-west connector" from that amendment. This means the $54 million being added back into the CIB could be used elsewhere for either another AMP-like project or for Bus Rapid Transit. However, as a practical matter, any other route could not advance fast enough to start construction this coming fiscal year, so if another route was chosen, the project could be included in next year's CIB. There is also other money in the CIB for Bus Rapid Transit. This amendment taking out the reference to and east-west connector no doubt made it easier for some council members to support the amendment but the amendment as amended is clearly for the AMP project.

Charlie Tygard makes the point that to have a successful mass transit system, you need a dedicated source of funding and until we have that we are not serious about mass transit and should not be spending money on individual projects. We should not be chasing federal dollars, he says.

A roll call vote is taken on the amendment that would restore the AMP project to the capital improvements budget and it passes 25 yes, 8 no, and 6 not voting. There was then a roll call vote on the CIB as amended and that vote was 29 yes, 4 no,  and six not voting.  Those who voted "no" on the final vote were in effect voting against all capital improvement projects.  I do not recall a time when the final CIB got any "no" votes before.  Those who voted "no" on the complete CIB were Standly, Blalock, Dominy, and Duvall. I don't know if those who were listed as not voting just chose to not vote or if they were absent.

Below are the Council members who voted "no" on the amendment to restore the AMP funding to the Capital Improvements Budget.

Charlie Tygard
Josh Stites
Burce Standly
Phil Claiborne

Davette Blalock
Duane Dominy

Robert Duvall

Carter Todd

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