During the first public participation, Shawn McGowan came before the council to ask once again for answers about who was responsible for what he voiced was sabotage of the car show, by not following through in a timely manner on making road barriers available as was agreed. “I asked a simple question, who made the phone call that changed the plan at the last minute.”
City Manager Mark Gaugh said he does not know anyone made a phone call to cancel anything and said if McGowan wanted to come in to speak to him, he would be happy to speak to him. McGowan said he has given the city 60 days to contact him and they have not, saying he wants it as public record. Gaugh said the city did not have an arrangement with McGowan. McGowan said he had been acting as the agent of the Griffeys in conjunction with the car show to get the barriers put up and had made arrangements with the city employees to get the barriers. Gaugh asked if the barriers were put up. McGowan said they were not put up on time. McGowan asked who made the phone call to tell the city employees not to make the barriers available on time, Gaugh said once again that no one cancelled anything. McGowan said he had talked to the employees responsible to load the trailer just the day before and they assured him everything was on schedule, and according to McGowan the day after the show the same employees would not even look him in the face and said someone told them not to do it.
Mike Moore and other members of the board of the Stella Grinstead Nutrition Center came before the City Council to explain the situation the nutrition center and the funding problems they are facing. The nutrition center lost it’s funding after 35 years – a loss of over $70,000 a year. According to Moore, the state’s plan is to replace the fresh hot meals with fresh food and fresh produce with frozen meals five days a week. Moore said he understands there is not a lot the city can do, but the nutrition center would appreciate anything the city is able to do and any support they can give. During the final comments of the meeting, Councilman Dennis Clark spoke up and suggested a letter be drafted by city staff, to be sent with the support of the City Council, to the state to implore them to reinstate the funding to the nutrition center. The rest of the Council concurred and directed city staff to write the letter for the Mayor’s signature.
During the City Manager report, Gaugh reported there will be a need for about three budget additions, which will be presented to the Council all at one time. The Start Smart Program is moving forward with a design firm, the project is not moving quickly, but it is progressing. The City has partnered with the a web-based energy service for customers to better understand their energy usage and provide energy savings. The animal shelter working group had their first meeting on Thursday August 31.
Jarrod Hammond of Bartlett and West was before the Council to discuss a master plan for the proposed business park. Hammond presented a power point presentation to the Council to explain the proposal effort and the timeline of the master plan should the Council vote to continue.
“Economic development is not an overnight task,” Hammond said. “It is a long process that needs to be thought through thoroughly, vetted out, and really understand all of the things, tasks, people that you want to have involved in your community.”
Hammond spoke to the Council about starting with the vision of what they would like the business park to become. A rough timeline presented included the next steps to be preparing to move forward by mid-September, and steering committee kick-off meeting in October and eventual public involvement and input into the process, with finishing it up sometime in spring of 2018. During the presentation, Hammond mentioned the potential costs of investment into the business park, which was a concern for Councilman John Feighert that he raised during discussion of the proposed ordinance after the presentation. The costs of the Business Park Master plan itself done by Bartlett and West will be $87,970 according to the ordinance.
“I’m getting to the point, we keep spending money on the plans, but we aren’t really doing anything with them,” Feighert said. “I am just concerned with continuing to spend money on plans when we are not really in a position to move forward.” Feighert also explained the city already has a master plan which some citizens may not be aware of.
Mayor Breckenridge expressed her concern about the mention of spec buildings.
“I don’t view that as a significant concern. They can recommend all they want, but we will decide,” Clark said. “We can go three ways, we can do absolutely nothing, just like our own businesses, our own personal lives, things get more and more expensive. If revenues stay flat, that means we will do less and less here, we will have less road repair, will have less of everything. Can raise taxes on existing citizens to raise the revenues. Or we can go outside and find creative ways to produce revenues from non-citizens. So I am going to support this.”
The ordinance passed with a 3-2 vote, Clark, Jack and Sloan in favor, Breckenridge and Feighert opposed.
The next resolution discussed by the Council was to exempt the business park from public access for the time being. According to Gaugh, the intention is to prevent vandalism as they work to improve one of the buildings. Gaugh said at some future point, there might be an area designated for public access and recreation, but for now, the businesses and investment of the city needs to be protected. Breckenridge expressed her concern about restricting the access to the pond and said she would rather see only part of the land be restricted at this time. Feighert expressed his desire to not restrict public access, since it was taxpayers money which purchased the land. Sloan asked if it was all the area to be restricted or if it only the land slated for development and improvement, which Gaugh confirmed it is. The resolution passed unanimously.
Other business before the Council included a second reading of an ordinance approving the budget for the ensuing fiscal year – approved unanimously; a full reading of an ordinance for the annexation of unincorporated territory and extension of the corporate city limits of Cameron – land belonging to Robert D. Earley Revocable Trust Evergreen and Dawn Avenue – the bill was passed by a vote of 3-1 with one recusal (Breckenridge, Feighert and Sloan in favor, Jack opposed, Clark recused); a liquor license for Crossroads Crush was also approved unanimously.