After much discussion and even a short recess in the hallway Mr. Messer introduced and supported the Mayor's plan B for the sewer rate increase. He explained his vote stating that he voted the way he felt would be the best plan for the people and that he was not influenced by the Mayor. He said that they had not had a conversation about his vote or about his recent attention by the newspapers and TV.
The Ordinance has not yet passed. There was only a second reading tonight, with presumably the third and final reading at the next meeting.
Understandably there was a lot of opposition from the council and from the public. Mr. Gahan said that he did not see an emergency need to borrow the money and thought that we could finish these projects without incurring more debt. Mr. Coffey and Mr. Price concurred.
Again there were remarks from the public including Vicki Denhart who supported using more EDIT and TIF funds to keep the rates down. She also mentioned the unpaid hookup fees from Linden Meadows and wondered aloud how many other homes had unpaid hookup fees.
Joy Chism, a first time speaker said that she cannot afford the rate increase and blamed the sewer problems on mismanagement.
Rev. Steve Burks said that he has been a resident since 1997 and since then the sewer utility has been in constant crisis. He thinks we need clarity as to the specific needs because the city budget that he was given was very vague. He also repeated that the top city officials should lead by example and take a voluntary salary cut.
In other business:
A 10-02 - $300,000 Appropriation from Rainy Day to Stormwater passed 7-2
A 10-03 - $400,000 Appropriation from Rainy Day to pay claims and make improvements for
the damage caused by the August 4 flooding passed 7-2
A 10-04 - $75,000 from E.D.I.T. to stormwater passed 8-1
A 10-05 - $100,000 from Riverboat to demolish unsafe properties passed 9-0
G 10-07 - Ordinance regulating tattoo and body piercing establishments passed 9-0
G 10-08 - Ordinance regulating disposal of dead animals passed 9-0
Personally, I hate to see the rate increase for the sewers but if it means getting them fixed and people not having to worry about their basements flooding when it rains, then so be it. According to Mr. Fifer the "loan" of $7.4Mil. does not put cash in our bank account. It is only a draw which cannot be approved without strict documentation for projects. Mr. Zurschmeide said that the interest rates will never be lower and neither will the costs to complete the projects. I have to agree, contractors need work and so do the workers. Let's get these projects done and put our citizens to work.