My computer clock clicked over at exactly 5:00 pm when Mayor Stan started the meeting. It’s good to see things work like a German railroad. (Ask me to tell that story sometime.) A lucky thirteen of us were there as the meeting got rolling and only a few because they were on the agenda. Most were citizens interested in making Springdale a better place. A few more trickled in as the meeting proceeded. Unfortunately, even more trickled out as the meeting proceeded. That turned out to be a poor choice if they were really interested in what is going on in our community. A little later in this report, I explain why, but first I’d like to cover the appeal that Bill Orton and Michael Plyler made to the council. (Also not on the agenda … talked about under the final budget hearing and community questions. But since it was not directly related to the agenda item, Mayor Stan ruled Bill out of order.)
I’ve written about the fire district’s budget crunch in two other reports …
… and there was nothing new presented so I won’t write more about that. The raw facts are that they have revenues of $165,000 a year now. They need $440,000 a year. So I’m just going to highlight other dollar amounts in reports that I write for a while … just as a comparison. Want fire protection for your house? Want an ambulance in case you have a heart attack? Keep these comparisons in mind.
The Last Shall Be First
The people who left early missed the best part of the meeting. Mayor Stan has added a significant difference to his meetings. The last item is:
D. Administrative Non-Action Items
Council Department Reports
This is turning out to be the most significant and interesting part of the whole meeting. Here’s “Theory and Practice of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Law 101” as it applies to this new wrinkle.
Theory is that all public business will be discussed in a meeting where all significant topics are announced in an agenda published in advance so citizens can attend and learn about what their elected representatives are up to.
Practice is that lots of REALLY interesting stuff is simply brought up as a “Department Report” and discussed. Not only do we not know that it was going to be discussed, but by this time, most of the few people that were there in the beginning are gone.
I’m not really complaining. (Appearances nothwithstanding. … When I’m complaining, you’ll be able to tell.) By listening carefully, I got a peek through the cracks at other things that are being talked about outside of meetings. (A parking plaza on Lion Boulevard?) At least, the things discussed under Part D above are “on the record”. But I’m making the point … yet again … that if these discussions were in a “public and accountable” Internet forum, we could all be much more aware of what’s going on and even put in our two cents about them. (You can do that here. All it takes is an account so we can tell who is saying what.)
Anyway … Since the Department Reports were so interesting, I’m going to focus on them first in this report.
Kathy talked about scheduling the tennis / pickleball courts. Not too interesting unless you play tennis or pickleball. Then it could be really interesting.
According to Rick, the notice to bid for the contract to construct the new manholes in the town’s water pipeline will be published on Monday with the bid opening anticipated on July 2. (The project will cost almost 40 percent of the Fire District budget shortfall … an unanticipated expense that Springdale and the irrigation company will somehow find the funds to pay for.)
Mark said that Chief Wright and our accountant Dawn had discussed “security”. I assume they’re talking about the cash payment of fines that got us in so much trouble a few years ago (and that was never going to be audited until a couple of “buttinsky” citizens started asking about it). Mark wasn’t clear about it … everybody else on the council seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. Mark didn’t mention any other details.
Bill Weyher said that Tom had drafted an RFP for the new town streetlights (needed to bring the town itself into compliance with the dark sky ordinance that will be enforced in a few years) and a lot of people are interested. … money, money, money! Bill is also working on optimizing the parking available. Bill said they’re not going to solve the problem, however. The Park has done a detailed survey of the whole town’s parking. (Mentioned by Rick later.)
Kathy and Mark had a very intriguing exchange about the possible construction of a parking facility on the land between Zion Adventure and the town hall. At this point, other council members jumped into the discussion, seemingly well aware of the issue.
Kathy: … if this land between Zion Adventure and the town … were acquired …
Stan: … For a parking facility?
< enthusiastic laughter from the entire commission >
Mark: I believe that is on the agenda for the planning commission …
It’s not on the agenda. I checked. No agenda has been published yet.
Several commission members wondered if solar panels could be installed that might help pay for the structure. Why would they wonder about this detail if the structure itself hasn’t been discussed quite a bit already?
Editorial comment: This is EXACTLY the kind of issue that the “people who just live here” would be really interested in. Open and Public Meetings, my patootie!
Mayor Stan said he would be meeting with “some people” next Friday about possible fiber for better Internet access in town. He said that we might have fiber “in the ground” next October. Great news, Stan!!
Stan said he met with the other mayors about our joint police department. But he didn’t say anything else about it. This was something I have asked about during “community questions” in previous meetings and that had not been reported contrary to a specific vote of the town council. This report fulfills the letter of the council instruction.
At the very end of the meeting, there was a whole round of discussion based on a suggestion by Kathy that Springdale consider enacting a municipal minimum wage as some other towns and cities have done. Rick said it would be legal to do that, but enforcement might be a problem. There was no real conclusion to the discussion.
Gosh!!! I’ve consumed three pages and only really reported Agenda Item D, “Department Reports”. Since I want this report to be timely, I think I’ll get this one on the website now. The rest of the meeting will have to wait.