On December 20th City Council met for it’s regular session. At a glance the schedule looked packed with end of year administrative work (though it turned out to be a fairly short meeting).
There were three principle areas of business:
- End of Year Finances
- Beacon Hills Road Bid
- Vacant Committee Appointments
End of Year Finances
There were two contracts up for renewal – one for the City Engineer and the second for the City Law Director. Both proposals included modest increases to the hourly rates and were approved 7-0.
There was also some housekeeping with end of year operating budgets to move account balances around which all passed 7-0.
Finally on the finance side there was an ordinance to update city worker wages starting in the new year (~2%). During the recent financial downturn the city (like many residents) had to tighten its belt a great deal – with our finances in better shape I feel this is well deserved. Notably the City has plans to do some hiring in 2018 so as those positions are posted they can be found here.
Beacon Hills Road Bid
One area I feel that has been long past due is maintenance work in the Beacon Hills subdivision roads / curbs. Bids were solicited and Council approved the ‘best bid’ for this work 7-0 with the plan to start to work in the Spring. Win!
Vacant Committee Appointments
Several appointments were made including the Charter Revision (Seiter, Matheny), Civil Service (Nienaber), Tax Review (Mitchel), and Firefighters Dependents Fund (Shroyer, Anderson). Welcome (or Welcome Back) to all!
If you have interest in serving on a committee reach out to a member of Council or the City Administration. Keep in mind the appointments are often for extended time and there may be a while between vacancies.
A note about “Emergency Clauses”
Several of the ordinances were presented with an emergency clause which enabled them to take effect as soon as practical rather than after a waiting period of 30 days. The method of passage also removes the requirement for 2 readings and removes the public option of a referendum to challenge the ordinance. (More on this can be found in the City Charter). While I believe there are certainly times this method for legislation is appropriate I feel that the use of this clause can be reduced with additional preparation and planning. I have started a review of the use of this method for legislation and have started discussions with other council members on the topic. I believe it will be possible to significantly reduce the emergency clause but will take several months to complete reviews of past and reoccurring legislation that could be avoided in the future and to ‘get ahead’ on these by preparing and introducing them earlier for first readings.