The meeting started off with comments from the public of which there were several. It started off with Mark Cassidy who surprised everyone, including himself, by supporting Mr. Price in the resolution to rescind health insurance benefits for council members. I echoed his words when my turn came, all to no avail as we all know. Thankfully I heard that the cost of living bonuses will be given to the non-bargaining employees of the city. That was my other topic.
Richard Berryman was next and was happy to report that the city cleaned up the mess they made in front of his house when a garbage truck leaked. His main topic was FEMA's decision to deny the flood victim's claims. Mr. Coffey explained that New Albany was included with the rest of the county which did not have as much damage. Doesn't seem fair.
Next up was Vicki Denhart who used her five minutes wisely and covered several different items. She stated that the nearly $44,000 fee for health care should not be given to a select few but rather spread among the rest of the council. She also said that Mr. Malysz and Mr. Rosenbarger had written grants in the past and with their large salaries should be required to do so in the future and thus eliminate the need for a grant writer. She also went on to speak about the lack of accountability and lack of leadership in the city, she ended with the words "We're in trouble".
Jason Hublar also spoke about the Tort claims being denied. He said the reason given was that the city was unaware of the flood problems before the big flood according to the insurance company, Midwest. He added that he and others had made the city aware of these problems two years ago.
Scott Thomas and Bob Lind spoke against the moratorium on building permits. Mr. Gonder changed the agenda to include just the first reading so the Ordinance can be changed again.
Ray Ballew spoke out about the healthcare rescinding resolution. He said the three part time employees are all business people who should be able to afford their own insurance, he also thanked Mr. Price for writing the resolution.
The last citizen was Debbie Pellman (sp?) who wants our tax dollars to help the flood victims. She asked that citizens be put first for once.
Mr. Malysz handed out a memo from the Mayor to the council (I just happen to have a copy).
It is regarding recent England Administration accomplishments. They include:
ARRA Stimulus Funding $1,515,000
- Spring St. signals
- Market St. signals
- Hausfeld Lane/CSX RR crossing
- State St. pavement (Green Valley Rd to I-265)
Mt. Tabor Road Design $482,750 contract 80% Federal also C-town to G-Line Rds.
Ohio River Greenway City $350,000 (from TIF) the Corps of Engineers $350,000
Additonal $3.2 million ARRA Stimulus funding from Corps of Engineers, New Albany will need to match this funding by June 2010 or the Corps will lose it.
The SEJ/East Spring Neighborhoods NSP Project - the $6.7 million grant to improve 40 properties, an additional 10-12 houses will be constructed.
The city is also in the process of selling the Baptist Tabernacle and Shrader Stables.
All of this happened between 7:30 and 9:00 Thursday night. There is so much good news but still so much bad news also. There is a light at the end of this tunnel but we have a long way to go to get there. I just wish someone could wave magic wand and create good jobs for our citizens so we could pay our bills and not worry about losing our homes. Those 40 houses will be sold to people with lower to moderate incomes but people need to have an income to buy them. Let's hope and pray that something happens soon.