A small break in the action

There’s no Council meeting this week, so let’s all take a deep breath and figure out what happened in August and what’s still pending.  For a month which is the “go on vacation” month, the Council was very busy

August 3: the marathon meeting (and here):  Council

  • postponed further action on the public safety facilities pending MNDOT’s decision about relocating their truck station from the preferred Woodley site, and
  • elected to give responsibility for reorganizing city departments to the interim city administrator.

August 9: Interim city administrator day.  Interviews were conducted in the morning; at a special meeting in the evening, the Council hired Tim Madigan, former Faribault administrator, as the interim administrator.

August 11: Bridgewater town meeting. The Bridgewater supervisors provided an intelligent and concise response denying the Prawer-Gill annexation request (see Supervisor Glen Castore’s letter to the News, too, as well as the News’ contention that we have been less than transparent about this meeting).

August 17: Regular Council meeting.  The Council approved

  • 1st reading of the new stormwater ordinance (this is an important issue about which much more should be said – relates to the Bridgewater issue, too),
  • early retirement for Community Development director Brian O’Connell (but hiring him part time to assist with finishing the land development code)
  • feasibility study for the annual street reconstruction project (for Plum, Linden and the westmost block of 2nd street)
  • more budget discussion

August 23: Public Forum on the Budget attended by about 30 people

August 24: Worksession where we discussed

  • the commercial zoning districts currently under revision by the Planning Commission,
  • utility rate studies, and
  • the preliminary levy to be established at the first meeting in September.

Looking ahead: City administrator Joel Walinski’s last day is this Friday, September 3 and I wish him well in his new position in Leavenworth, WA (home of nordic skier Torin Koos and nothing like Leavenworth, KS where I went to high school).  At 5 pm on Sept. 3, Tim Madigan takes over as interim administrator.  Budget issues will continue to be big issues from setting the preliminary levy Sept 7 and on into the Fall (Indeed, I’m already looking ahead to the 2011 budget process).  Campaigns tend to ramp up after Labor Day, so I’m also curious about how local candidates will address issues and push our agenda as they campaign for office.

One thought on “A small break in the action

  1. Whew! very busy month…
    With a new (interim) City Administrator, it seems as if there was any desire on the part of the Council to restructure the meeting agendas, now would be the time to put in a request.

    I do know that this is a matter of the administrator and mayor’s decision according to the Charter; however I don’t see any reason why a councilor or councilors, couldn’t ask for a more “reasonable” structure.

    In my mind that would be that the ‘Lightest’ rather than “Heaviest’ items be LAST on the agenda.
    If the most serious and time consuming subjects are first, then they can get as much attention and time as they need, before the evening gets so late and everyone is tired.

    I also think that work sessions need to give more time to the most complex agenda items; maybe even only one-subject meetings in some cases…. budget, reorganization of city hall, annexation.

    Just suggestions from an observer’s POV… I would just as soon never see the Council get to an exhausted/frustrated level of discussion, because of the late hour.

    P.S. I would also like to see dissenting views of councilors explored more in the work session setting… for example: when Councilor Denison slams the packet on the table, saying (with reference to the LDC) “I want this done … Period !” .
    I think that sort of comment should not be allowed to just ‘lie there’.
    The criticism is so strong that it needs to be followed up with an explanation; if it is not, it leaves a question in viewer’s minds as to the validity of the comment, therefore any councilor who makes such a strong statement should have to elaborate on their reasoning for doing so.
    That explanation would then allow the viewer to judge whether the comment has merit, or not.

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