January 9, 2013 at city hall, all five of the members were present and for the most part, paying attention. Commissioner Fish was a little late but did not miss much. Actually, there was not much to deal with during the 90 minute meeting, except this item:
*21 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Authorize the Bureau of Transportation to acquire certain permanent and temporary rights necessary for construction of the SW Boones Ferry Rd - SW Stephenson St Project, through the exercise of the City's Eminent Domain Authority (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Hales) 15 minutes requested."
This request did turn interesting; it did go a lot longer than 15 minutes as requested, and there were a number of citizens who objected to the limited way the city was going ahead with this project. One woman said straight out that the change will not deal at all with the biggest problem they have and that is speeding. I was a little confused by this because I thought this was a simple problem that was going to be finally answered by the city--wrong!
This was presented as an emergency which means that you have to get all the members to agree or they would have to do a second reading and more discussion. The cost of this project is not cheap, in the range of over a million bucks.
One of the things I learned if you put your mouse on the item number, in this case *21 you get more info to understand what they are going to do with your money.
"5) Expense: What are the costs to the City related to this legislation? What is the source of Funding for the expense? (Please include costs in the current fiscal year as well as costs in future years. If the action is related to a grant or contract please include the local contribution or match required. If there is a project estimate, please identify the level of confidence.)
$10,000, which includes the costs associated with the filing of a condemnation action by the City Attorney's Office if necessary. These expenses are covered as part of this cost center budgeted appreciations. This dollar amount does not include the costs of the property acquisition and construction of the project. These costs are included in the project's budget. This dollar amount also does not include the costs of prolonged litigation or those associated with appellate court proceedings."
There is no way of trying to figure out how much this is going to cost, during the testimony the figure of $1,000,000+ was being thrown around, but one would not know this from the info given. I hate it when they do this stuff!
Well, it was interesting and if you get a chance, watch the testimony on this item. Sometime after Friday you should be able to go and find the video for the 9th of January. One of the things that bothered me about what was going on, the council members had an expression on their collected faces saying they did not understand what was going on either. There was a gathering of people in the area and a vast majority was reported to favor this construction---amazing!
Barbara was with me today and we did speak a little with Comm. Steve Novick about the council and what he thinks about the coming coal trains. He wants the county medical/environmentalist people to do some investigation and let him know what the damage to our environment will be with these open coal trains coming through our city. We disagreed, but I understood what he was saying; unusual for me and a politician to understand each other. We shall see on this, I am not encouraged!
I have no idea where this council will end up, but the unanimous vote on the above issue did not leave me with any good feelings. We will see!
If you get the opportunity please come to the meetings, it is important that we keep a presence at all the meeting, a major task I know. Until next week, smile things will probably get worse. Ha!