Council Watch: 4/14/08

Low moments in modern history:

“I am not a crook.”

“I am not a wimp.”

“We are not a tax-and-spend council.”

Look, Mr. Simpson, you can say that every meeting from now until the harvest of the corn but until it matches up with your actions it is simply not true.

(The irony here is that Mr. Simpson did actually vote on the taxpayer-friendly side of the motion to reconsider the sales tax increase–along with Alds. Baker and Keller–but my instinct on this is that he didn’t understand the vote.)

For the record, Ald. Wogen lied last night about what he said at the April 3 meeting. Then he betrayed us on the vote. Any points he earned for hosting the April 3 meeting, for nudging along the meeting format changes, anything else: They’re gone.

There were two bright spots in the meeting that ran 3 hours. One was that we had a pretty good lineup of speakers to the tax issue. The other was Ald. Baker, who filled in for the absent mayor in running the meeting.

Baker gets it. He’s been against that sales tax hike from the start. I was pretty impressed that he did his own investigation into the date that the sales tax increase/decrease/whatever would become effective–and found out it may not necessarily be next January, as the city manager had reported. He also supports the idea of having an outside party scrutinize the budget and he guided the process that’s going to get us an ad hoc citizens’ budget review committee.

I found myself picturing Dave Baker as mayor, and the picture did not seem outrageous.

40 thoughts on “Council Watch: 4/14/08”

  1. My concern is that Baker did the investigation after close of business and did not give information to manager-lawyer until the meeting. Manager, lawyer and Baker each had ‘political’ reasons for their interpretations but the issue was never resolved and was moot anyway with the vote. I am curious who is/was right but couldn’t conclude one way or another from what was presented at the meeting.

    When I was on the plan commission Baker (as alderman) made presentations (an unusual procedure) and cited code stuff that differed from what staff had said. It wasn’t one of these big issues, sort of a technical matter, but on further examination commission agreed with the staff interpretation.

    Yinn, your eagle eyes will be needed if an outside professional firm is used to examine the budget. It can work, but some of these firms get ‘commissions’ as a percent of what they recommend. Mac’s warnings about the architects and their getting a percent of the cost of the building might also hold here. I’m speculating as this is new territory for me.

  2. Herb,

    I don’t care who’s right about the effective date. I just admire the initiative.

    I don’t know yet whether I can get behind the idea for an outside budget consultant, but I like that a fresh idea was brought to the table.

    A couple small blows to the status quo, Herb. It does my heart good. So does your concern, actually. Thanks.

  3. I don’t believe that I lied at the April 3 meeting. If you could please show where I’m wrong I would appreciate that. I never said that I was going to lower taxes prior to the budget meeting. I promised that we would set a date and look at this and that I believed that we would lower taxes after going through the budget and scrutinizing every line item.

    Victor Wogen

  4. You betcha, Victor. I will transcribe your statement when I see the recast. Two of us who attended April 3 looked at each other and said, “He never said that!”

  5. “I promised that we would set a date and look at this and that I believed that we would lower taxes after going through the budget and scrutinizing every line item.

    Victor Wogen”

    Putting the tax increase for Monday night’s meeting was to revist the previous vote. If you were going to vote the same, why mislead people by asking for a re-vote? Simpson and Keller changed their mind, put the vote back on the agenda, and voted against the tax increases. You put the vote back on the agenda like they did but voted the same anyway. Alderman Baker wasn’t there at the meeting raising the taxes and he spoke out against the sales tax increase at the first reading. He didn’t really change his position.

    Look at this headline:

    http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2008/04/11/news/news03.txt

    Voters thought you were going to change your mind and vote against the tax increases. If few people contacted you, that is because lots of us thought you were going to change your vote on the tax increases. Instead, you voted to raise our taxes anyway.

    Nobody expected “lower taxes;” what the people wanted was a re-vote on the tax increases from the previous meeting which meant taxes would not be raised. That is not the same as lowering taxes. Re-voting against the tax increase means the taxes would have stayed the same. No one said anything about lowering taxes.

    If you don’t want to call that lying, whatever. But why should anyone should trust you for anything?

    Do you get it now or do you need a picture drawn?

  6. “Manager, lawyer and Baker each had ‘political’ reasons for their interpretations”

    Manager and lawyer are paid, and paid well, to provide non-political, unbiased, accurate and truthful information to the elected officials. For paid staff to provide ‘political’ interpretations for the purpose of persuading policy is an affront to good government and a deliberate manipulation to reward self interest.

  7. Mac,
    What i was trying to say is that reasonable people could offer explanations why people might slant, so questioning the slant was appropriate. I was trying to be nice, and not question the alderman’s motivations, but I guess that was a mistake.

    Frankly I accepted the managers and lawyer’s interpretation and did not feel there was a manipulation. I was trying to be calm and balanced so as not to criticize Baker for what I thought was a direct and un called for insult to staff.

    To be blunt, I was too kind.

    Okay, let me restate: manager was aware of the logistic difficulties of dealing with the state so made contact to find out. He learned that the tax could would have to stay in until December and early on was quoted in the paper as saying so. . On your blog, Mac, or maybe here, you implied that the manager was deceiving. I always take you seriously so I asked the manager to double check ( I don’t know if he saw my request, but I did ask electronically).

    At the meeting the manager stated he had checked carefully and that he was sure the increase would have to stay till Jan. Then the attorney gave her opinion and to back it cited state code. Meanwhile the alderman introduced a controversial interpretation that he heard on a phone call late in the afternoon and that created a back and forth exchange that got nowhere. .

    At the very least since the manager’s interpretation was in the paper, the alderman had plenty of time to make his call downstate and then call up the manager to get a reconciliation prior to the meeting rather than raise the issue with no forewarning and then argue back and forth when both manager and attorney were citing sources on why they interpreted matters as they did.

    As I said before, your innuendo about the manager bothered me. So I did write and ask that he look into the matter. I don’t know if my e-mail evoked any action or not, but it seemed that he had double checked. Further if I had time to (a) read your post (b) worry about it (c) contact the city manager or at least send an e-mail, and do so all during working hours, the alderman could have done the same.

    I felt that the manager and lawyer provided the information that to the best of their professional abilities were truthful.

    herb

  8. Victor-

    In My line of work we use the phrase “perception is reality”. The People you represent were expecting you reconsider the Tax Hike. (Read….leave the taxes where they were). The City Agenda listing the reconsideration proposal did NOT state that it was your intention to provide a debate for “window dressing” purposes – Just To make the citizen’s of this community ‘feel’ as if they we’re being heard.

    The voter’s perception was that you and the other (3) Aldermen were going to do the right thing and reconsider this RUSHED TAX Increase. Three alderman did listen, you chose to ignore us. This little dog and pony show you provided on Monday night further intensifies our resolve to REVOKE Home Rule in DeKalb.

    Hats off to Ald Baker for his additional research on the Tax implementation timelines. Shame on City Staff for not looking outside the box. I maintain that this is a RUBBER STAMP City Council.

    Staff recommends = Alderman Approve

    Thanks to Ald Baker for actually looking at alternatives and and doing his own investigation into the Tax matter and not simply acting in lock-step to whatever City Staff Recommends

    Ald Gorski / Naylor /Polvsen/ Wogen – You could learn a thing ot two from Mr Baker.

    The Next Informational meeting for those interested in REVOKING Home Rule will be held on Thursday April 17th at The Best Western – 7pm. All are invited to attend.

  9. Herb,

    Please, name another taxing body in Dekalb County that is in as much financial trouble as the City of DeKalb.

    Ald. Baker is the one being kind. Kind, because the only really rational decision is to fire the city manager, whose credibility is nil. Now the credibility of the city council is also gone, because they haven’t fired him. I’m sure Ald. Baker would be less “insulting” if the city manager had done the honorable thing and resigned. Since he hasn’t, it is up to the Council members with the most integrity and courage to terminate his contract. That, evidently, is hard to find. Therefore, the whole council will suffer the consequences of revocation of home rule.

  10. X council members can move a motion to fire the city manager. Firing city managers, cutting back on services are all things that can be done without permanently handicapping the city (not the council) if home rule disappears.

    As you know I am not exactly a shrinking violet. I have served on several boards and also do stuff less formally, like our mutual effort on openess. . I am often in disagreement with staff. I do backup work, share what i learn i feel with staff, and 100% of the time my concerns have been addressed (though not always with the outcomes I’ve wished but always with full mutual respect). I do want to be heard and responded to, but recognize that others have equally strong and informed opinions and when my issues don’t prevail, have no desire to close up the game.

    My thought is that when Kapitan (a high service person) attacked staff, people attacked Kapitan. When Baker (tempoarily a low service person, over the years he has vacillated on these issues and has supported increasing property taxes) attacks staff he is praised.

    In any case, having unresolved disputes between council and staff does the city no good.

    On your first question, the appropriate comparison is with other general purpose governments and on a national level many are in financial trouble. We, however, are in total agreement on the need for severe economy moves. I feel that there is a major difference between cutting back and imposing a structure that totally limits local government flexibility.

    DeKalb faces two problems that most of the other local bodies have not faced (The school district is the exception that took a hundred million dollar referendum to resolve). The sanitary district can raise rates as it wishes to match increased demand.

    The underlying problem for the city: our entire growth from the low thirties in population to the mid forties occurred wih minimal or no impact fees to pay for the expanded service and infrastructure needs. Council (starting with Sparrow, continuing with Bessie) had been too cautious, chicken, scared?? to increase property taxes to pay for the service needs created by the unfunded liability of new growth. I do fault all for this problem, but the problem was in allowing growth without commensurate revenue increases. Further no council has dared attack the dramatic deferred maintenance problem — Kapitan suggested doing so and was hooted out for so doing.

    herb

  11. No, Herb. Our problem is that the city has been spending money they thought/hoped would come in, the classic problem of counting the chickens before they’ve hatched.

    If the council can’t come to grips with the need to cut services instead of imposing new taxes–Gorski said no other plans have been proposed but they certainly could have directed staff to come up with one–as well as the need to make changes in staff, we would be shirking our duty as citizens in not taking away powers they are using irresponsibly. One way or another we must start living within our means.

  12. Yinn,
    I will hold off on this one, until we finish the budget hearings. If substantial cutbacks are not made then I will rethink my position, but I am hopeful that many of the cutbacks, some of which you have suggested, will come about.

    The budget hearings start mid May (I might miss the first ones, am on travel) but will attend and comment at all others.

    In households means do determine expenditures. But in the public sector there is a tradeoff between means and expenditures. I for one was willing to pay more taxes for education; means increased because of the type of expenditure. I am not willing to pay more taxes for excess vehicles of a too large size. I have changed my mind 73 times at least on the county jail. In the public sector income and services are adjusted simultaneously.

    Ok, you got me going on analogies. Irene and I retired and planned according. We knew how much income we would have (less by far than before) and slowly and carefully rebudgeted. (Some cost savings occurred because some professional expenses disappeared — I taught in suit and tie and dress shirt and didn’t believe how much I was spending on dry cleaning). In any case, the transition was smooth as what we did was a balanced cut in expenditures (services) to mesh with our new income. Fewer publications, less eating out, but having to maintain all utility bills etc. since they were not in our control. We cutback slowly carefully with planning and meshed income with expenditures because we did so in our own budget process (irene and herb sharp, pencil, little calculator, and kitchen table, never said it was very formal)

    Now, take the contrasting situation when a budget is dramatically slashed, for instance, some family loses its jobs or a wage earner dies. There the response (out of necessity) is simply not to pay whatever bill arrives first and to postpone the larger bills. This is what is happening, in part, in the mortgage melt down. Rather than transisting to a lower budget, this family has to slash whatever it is that can be slashed irrespective of the longer term consequences. A roof isn’t repaired because there isn’t money available, a storm comes, and the second floor ends up a mess. The sinking fund for the replacement of the furnace is used for the immediate car payment. A horrible financial situation forces the family into making what it knows are not good budget decisions, but it has no choice.

    My take is that cutting back services through the new budget process is akin to the smooth fiscal transition Irene and I made to retirement — real cutbacks but carefully planned to mesh with our new priorities.

    In contrast ending home rule would be analogous to slamming the financial door leading to quick and dramatic cutbacks whose longer term implications can be quite harmful.

    That being said, I will hold off my final opinion until the fy09 budget process is complete in May and June.

    herb

  13. Yes–Time to seriously consider revoking home rule. It might very well be that not only did Wogen’s deception single-handedly made the raised taxes stick by casting a deciding vote, his actions may anger people enough to revoke home rule.

    It may be time for getting a referendum allowing recalls of elected officials at the local level, too.

    If the City Manager goes, please send the City Lawyer out the door, too. I’m guessing she flunked out of Charm School.

    Sorry Herb, the damage is done. No amount of your apologizing for this crew’s behavior will help. They need to apologize themselves and already Wogen missed his chance.

    By the way, some of us were not for any kind of irresponsible growth, said so in the past, and got ignored.

  14. “On your blog, Mac, or maybe here, you implied that the manager was deceiving… …your innuendo about the manager bothered me.”

    There was no innuendo in my post. I was direct. The proper thing to do in such matters is to get a written statement from a state agency on its policies. Doing so would have eliminated the he-said, she-said controversy we now face. If a paid staff member thinks asking for a written response is offensive that should send up an immediate red flag.

  15. Well, could be Victor was intimidated by the union guys in the audience. Ivan said maybe we should have more men in blue there; some seem to think AFSME was ready was ready to get its thug on if the vote went the “wrong” way. If that’s the case we’re in even worse shape than I thought.

  16. We don’t need to cut back on services, gosh darn it to heck! We need to get rid of the $18,000 coffee service and the “company” vehicles and a couple I&T people and the country club party. Trying to present it that service-cutting is the only way to go is utter complete hogwash!

  17. I wish someone could show me where I was the deciding vote. I never said that I was going to change my vote before the budget meetings. The Chronicle never asked me my point of view, they only asked and printed Keller’s. I know that there will be serious cutting of the “fat” during the upcoming budget process. At that time, I believe that it will be possible to lower the sales tax rate back to 7.5%. Who knows, mayber even lower. We have got to quit being so reliant upon sales tax, and I realize that by raising it at this time makes us even more dependent upon it. That’s why I and others will work very hard during the budget process. I don’t believe that the gas tax should be a permanent tax either. I do believe, however, that we need it to fix the badly damaged streets from this past winter. The monies from that tax can only be used for street repair, not general fund or any other fund. I am listening to the citizens. I know that there will be some serious change in the very near future.

    Victor

  18. I’m wondering if some sort of system could be put in place to have some of these specific questions on IT, coffee etc. answered without having to spend huge staff time in doing so. I did post some answers to some expenditure questions that Mark B sent to me (someplace on either this or Mac’s blog), but I hate having to act as an intermediary, spending my time and then staff’s on each question as they individually emerge..

    Perhaps we could systematically collect all the questions and then someone (I’ll volunteer) could simply present each set of questions at the appropriate budget hearings and at that time insist on an answer.

    Anyway we need a connect between the quite legitimate questions on what each expenditure entails and getting an answer without at the same time totally tying up the city. I like the list gathering and presenting it at the budget hearings idea, but would love to hear some better ideas.

    Or maybe a better idea: we compile a few lists, put them together and each of us gives them to our respective alderperson. I like that one better, or maybe we could do both.

    I’m curious myself on the 7.5 IT people (bet that includes folk to handle the live broadcasts etc. but would like to know). I do know the reception for citizen volunteers (that’s the country club thing) is not to be held again (Probably makes sense to save money, but we will have to say thank you to citizen volunteers in a different way — in a typical EDC meeting (and estimating folks income) I suspect citizens contribute about a $1000 in time) Plan commission members more. Still, we could all do without the extra snacks (especially me a vegeterian who won’t eat fried food)..

    I too would like a cost comparison between providing vehicles versus giving employees mileage money for using their own vehicle on city business and then someone explaining the insurance implications of each approach.

    I have asked certain budget questions and have posted some answers on the pass through. Other answers were intriguing. I’ll try to reconstruct one, that I heard orally, but could be off a bit. I asked about money provided to I think a Youth something social service agency. Turns out the state (I think) mandates a specific program/activity/service??that someone in the locality has to provide. A non profit like the youth service bureau can provide it at one cost, far less than the city doing so since it would require the city hiring another sworn officer. Turns out that a contribution to a service agency really was contracting out.

    In any case, those involved in setting up these list will have some fun night time reading.

    herb

  19. Sorry for more, but I do want to act as devil’s advocate. For routinized tasks shifts of course make more sense than do overtime. If you need 6 people doing back office work 16 hours a day, you hire two shifts of 6, not one shift of 6, one of 3 and then have 3 others on overtime.

    But not all tasks are that fungible. Say the same folk handle trees, streets, etc. i.e. summer/spring/fall stuff as handle snow removal and water emergencies. For summer stuff you want most folk working during daylight that is a huge day time shift, with just emergency folk for the wee hours. Snow of course comes when it pleases so night work is needed. To handle the shift-overturn problem requires also reconciling the time dependence of the warm weather and cold weather tasks. Am I understanding this correctly?

    herb

  20. Yinn,
    I missed one of your points. Are you saying there are 1.8 million bucks in unnecessary expenditures such as cars and coffee pots that can be cut without cutting back personnel?

    herb

  21. There is a holiday party for staff at the country club that costs $3,000 a year. No “crisis” year better have that in a budget. Let ’em pass the hat.

    I was looking at the gorgeous photos of all the administrative staff, professionally matted & framed looks like, in the hallway leading to council chambers. If it’s really a crisis, act like it. No more of these nonessential expenses.

  22. I believe that holiday party at the Country Club is a thank you to all of the commission members and committees who volunteer their time to the city and do get recognized for their service at the same time. A few years ago this party stirred up a conversation about the open meetings act I do believe.

  23. The holiday party is for the volunteers? It’s one and the same? That’s pretty weird because I don’t remember being invited. And if I were, I would not go because of the Open Meetings Act issue.

  24. Parties are not what volunteering is all about anyway. Volunteering is about giving something back to the community. I do volunteer work but not with the expectation that someone is going to throw a swank party later.

    I know there are more appropriate thank yous relative to the budget crisis.

  25. Agree that the party can be dispensed with. In fact, it already has been eliminated in the Biernacki proposed cutbacks. It was pleasant and it was for volunteers and was where I finally met Ivan’s spouse and he met mine.

    The open meetings act was a one year concern based on a speech the mayor gave. The next year the speech was not given. No open meeting act concern left but also no party.

    What was impressive about the party was the large number of folk who do voluntarily serve on city boards etc.

    Yinn, you will be sending your list of economy ideas to your alderman and I hope to the other council members too. I’ll just gather the suggestions then made by the really anonymous folk, and eventually forward them.

    Back to the parties and the committees. Citizen volunteers are vital for the committees. But what makes them work is the staff back up and that back up is being re-thought as part of the on-going retrenchment. The law requires much of the backup for the plan commission and some of the personnel boards, but the back up work for the other committees is discretionary and could easily disappear to save money.

    herb

    p.s. I’ve been to swank parties, but the city volunteer night party is far from swank, fun, more pleasant than most large parties, but not a decidely not upscale.
    Swank reception: major bank set up a a reception for organizations that both work with and protest banks. Now that was swank; 50th floor Chicago party room, open bar, food that was pricier than I’d certainly buy on my own in fact I had to have some dishes identified — I did recognize the smoked fish.

  26. Yinn,
    I’m not being argumentative here, just curious. Why does it violate the act?

    I’m guessing, because a majority of council are there? Or for other reasons I’ve been to fund raisers where a majority of a majority (that’s the gathering limit by law) of certain elected bodies were present. And, on election evening parties I think a majority of a majority of several elected bodies ended up being in the same room. (Not a swank party, cash party, pretzels and chips.)

    Anyway, treat this question like the one on the school building materials; ‘; a matter of ignorance on my part.

    herb

  27. Victor Wogen Says: “I wish someone could show me where I was the deciding vote. I never said that I was going to change my vote before the budget meetings.”

    I do appreciate your making the effort to post here and elsewhere.

    It was a 4-3 vote, Victor. Had you voted against the sales tax increase it would not have been passed, thus the deciding vote. Your commitment was to reconsider the issue until a formal public hearing was held.

    FYI: Roberts Rule of Order Article 8:47. Votes that are Null and Void even if Unanimous. No motion is in order that conflicts with the laws of the nation, or state, or with the assembly’s constitution or by-laws, and if such a motion is adopted, even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void.

    Victor, was the tax increase measures discussed in closed session?

  28. You know, in my business we are invited by many of our suppliers to some pretty nice shindigs, golf outings etc in order for them to promote their new products and/or pricing. My dad told one of our salesmen who asked why he didn’t come to the event and my father said “stop spending money on the party and lower your prices, that will make me happier”

    Today, I’d rather have the savings from the cuts.

  29. Perhaps it is time to get some people on committees who make less than $30,000 per year for some perspective. The Country Club is one of the nicest places in DeKalb County and on a normal day, you have to be ‘somebody’ or know ‘somebody’ to get in. Most people around here couldn’t even imagine going to the Country Club, and downtown Chicago is somewhere in the stratosphere. A bank can do whatever the heck it wants because it doesn’t run on the taxpayers’ dollars. A democracy shouldn’t be run by just the rich people–Herb, yes you are one of the rich people, and so are most people making more than $50,000. Someone making more than $50K can pinch back when the economy gets bad. Then there are the people around here who have to wait for their IRS refund check so they can pay their property tax bill in June.

    Maybe it is time to get some people like local fast food managers on committees. They would completely understand what it is like to be working poor yet understand what it takes to keep the money in the black. The problem is, the people who are really needed for good perspective are too busy working to sit on some committee or run for office.

    OK, the easy cuts to make are also some of the least expensive. The downtown makeover will be coming from new TIF money. But, what about the purchase of the former Adolph Miller property around 1st and Locust (spring 2007?), and the house on Lincoln Highway by the traffic light near Yen Ching? Where did the money come from to have some of those buildings ripped out? If the city manager knew there was a budget problem almost a year ago, what was up with all that?

  30. Wake me up if Wogen ever considers taking responsibility for any of his actions. His reply to just about everything is that it just isn’t his fault, even though he did it.

    Most people learn to take responsibility for their own actions by the time they are in middle school or at least by high school.

  31. to 649 a.m. anonymous (wish people would use screen names so we could tell one anonymous from the other)

    Median county family income is now about $70,000 (HUD figure)
    .
    Only time I’ve been to country club is the party and two weddings both of former students.

    Downtown purchases are out of TIF budget.

    I’m agreeing that the party should be stopped.

    Am reacting to labeling. Again party is not needed but a party that costs $10-15 a person is not ‘swank’.

    Incidentally the swank business parties are almost all tax deductions for the the businesses so that all of us as tax payers indirectly subsidize them.

    Mayor has announced he wants people to volunteer for committees. If you want lower income folk on committees (and they should be on committees) and you yourself are in that category, volunteer.

    I’m very active in several organizations (not local) whose board consists of people who are public housing tenants, in fact one board is chaired by this lower income person. These people are incredible, informed and active.

    Interesting perception of rich — living in the median priced home, two cars (we needed two when working) 9 years old and 14 years old. Income figures are dramatically skewed in this country with the top few million families owning a very high proportion of all the wealth. Retired academics from working class families do not end up in this elite group.

  32. Once again, our government buys property and takes it off of the tax rolls. How long will this property sit vacant? No income from rental. City says they don’t want to be landlords. No real estate tax. City is exempt from paying these taxes.

    With this economic downturn, could we have waited to buy the property and proceed with the major part of the downtown plan? TIF money is generated by sales. Will the new sales tax slow down the regeneration of TIF monies to rebuild the downtown? So many questions and so many things being proposed on future tax dollars from the increased sales tax, remember .02 cent gas tax goes into road repairs. What if projected sales are down? There will still be no money to pay for city services, then what? The real cuts that should have been now?

    Economic downturn shows less sales nation wide and will locally too. Construction is down nationally and locally too. Local vendors already changing point of sales to other communities in order to survive and win some business. How many businesses that are here today will survive the tearing up of downtown, this sales tax increase, and economic downturn on top of a slow, long, hard winter?

    Physical budget cuts, straight across the board, need to be done now in order to guarantee the monies needed to continue required services. Tough questions and tough decisions will have to be made. All of this to be done and somehow get a very needed police station built. Maybe we should trade some downtown work to prioritize the PD station.

  33. Ivan,
    I think council is trying to set up the ad hoc budget committee (re-instituting the formal committee takes changes in ordinances that won’t be done until after the budget season, hence the ad hoc committee).

    Anyway, council seems to want volunteers?

    Hint, hint, hint.

    Herb

  34. Herb, I’m already helping with the FPC in hopes of saving taxpayers some dollars in the construction of the new high school. I am on the city’s Builders Board to review questions that may arise with ordinance’s or code’s, this one is not too active at the current time. I wouldn’t mind trying to help our police department through that ad hoc committee in trying to expedite something to alleviate their space problem.

    I’ve been asked to sit on several committees that past several years within the city and not been asked by the current mayor to help and sit in. To me, the FPC is a priority with me at this time. I do think that this high school can be built for less, we just need more to think the same.

    I do however see more community members starting to get involved especially with this budget matter and the home rule repeal has many voters blood warming up. This is a very good thing!

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