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Monday, January 26, 2009

City Council Meeting (Jan. 26)

At the prior work session: The Mayor was not present for the work session or Regular Meeting (1) Council President Quinn began with a plea for all "to have respect for one another" and "don't cross the line on the dais . . . while we enact difficult constitutionally required changes." She then announced a "retreat" for the council, Mayor and department heads scheduled for this Friday-- to facilitate better communications/relations. (2) Rose Fogarty and Treasurer Nancy Wilson gave the December financial report (see chart). First quarter fiscal year expenses exceeded revenue by $1,582,414 and by $765,681 for December alone. Wilson observed , "it's not a pretty picture" and "its going to be tight"; and was "concerned about the trend . . . as cash continues to decline." (3) The results of the utility rate "study" underway would be ready next Council Meeting, it was revealed; and someone said, "they won't be going down". (4) Fairhope High Football asked for money from the city to help stage a "Jamboree in May" game; but the consensus was there was no money to offer. (5) A discussion followed after Planner Gregg Mimms requested guidance about providing matching funds for a potential grant to buy the old gas station on S. Scenic 98 (Jill Hall Trail) and the consensus again seemed to be "to put it to rest and say no"(Mixon). At the Council Meeting: (1) Terry Sanders (Police Chief) and Haymes Snedecker (Muni. Judge) were sworn in by Judge Reid. Sanders was to begin work "immediately". (2) Fogarty and Treasurer Wilson presented the financial report-- and were queried by Lonnie Mixon about the low level of emergency funds. Wilson commented, " We have to look at both revenue and expenses . . . hard decisions will have to be made soon." (3) Councilman Stankoski submitted names and made a motion to form a "Police Chief Search Committee"-- and wished new interim Chief Sanders luck. The first meeting will be Feb. 3 at 6PM (Nix Center). (4) Jennifer Fidler gave a presentation about trash and garbage. The City's C & D (construction and debris) landfill will soon be full and the material hauled to the county landfill in Loxley instead (McBride). There will be new "transfer costs" and 3 new trucks and one additional driver will be required. Fidler reported that going to once weekly garbage service would save the city about $216,000/yr. and that "decisions will have to be made soon" (rate increase?). Council President Quinn suggested a "public hearing" beforehand would be in order. (5) A resolution was passed giving the Mayor authority to spend up to $1000 in "discretionary spending"--without prior Council approval. (6) A proposed Ordinance allowing the Council to hire a City Manager was pulled due to a technical problem with the wording. The Mayor is reportedly "onboard with the idea" (Mixon/Quinn) and is working with the Council to bring it about. Quinn commented the purpose is "to take the politics out of daily city operations and spending." (7) Council President Quinn expressed concern about HWY 98 tress (Publix): "I'm worried we may wake up and the '98' trees be gone"-- and suggested a resolution to require notification by ALDOT prior to any such plans. A member of the Tree Committee reported they (ALDOT) were already obligated to do that-- so the resolution was pulled. In Public Participation: Chris Warner again complined about design flaws concerning "The Shoppes of Fairhope" (Publix): traffic safety being foremost. Calvin Hunt expressed concern about important issues of the minority community south of town: (1) abandoned buildings on Young Street and Twin Beech Rd.; (2) minority participation in selecting the new Police Chief. He described Fairhope as a tale of two cities: Fair-hope and No-hope. President Quinn replied much of the area was not in the city limits but she and staff "would be talking with him." corrections appreciated

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love it when Jenny fidler talks about trash: she's such a cutie pie!

Pirate Maniac said...

I don't have a lot of confidence in our financial people anymore. Just a couple of months ago they were telling us what great shape we were in (A+, in the black). Where's the Mayor when there's bad news anyway? Looks like he always has something else to do rather than attend government meetings.

mamamia said...

we all wish the new police chief good luck.

Fairhope Fanatic said...

Thank goodness we're finally taking partisan politics out of daily government operations. Debbie Quinn deserves credit for having the courage to make it happen. Mayor Kant too , if its true he is " on board" with it. Its been tearing the town apart for too long now.

broke utility customers said...

Our 2 "Money Honeys" were just telling us what great financial shape we were in a little while ago-- and are now talkin about raising our utility rates just to pay the city's bills. They demanded , and got, a big pay raise too! Only in Fairhope! Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

they gotta go if they want to raise our bills