Monday, June 14, 2010

city council meeting 6/14/10

Opening prayer provided by Nick Ibarra with thoughts and prayers being extended to the family of Tom Finnie as his wife passed away recently.

Since there is a police/fire pension issue on the agenda the "first responders" are here in full force, I doubt if they are going to admit to their portion of the underfunding.

Swearing in of John D. Whittington to the airport board.

Springfield Catholic Lady Irish being recognised for winning MO state soccer championship. Resolution passed way to go ladies.

manager's report praising the disinformation being orchestrated for the passage of the CIP tax. Quarterly revenue down once more an with hiring freeze and budget cuts. City has found a source for all recycled glass to be hauled to KC to be used in fiberglass insulation, although we won't make any money it isn't going to cost us any money to be hauled away.
brick sidewalks being discussed and if these shall be retained, replaced, and/or repaired the city manager is going to create a "task force" to look into the subject. trees and which ones are going to be cut down in Fassnight Park is being discussed and of course the local media is being hammered for erroneous reporting. City manager covering his basis with the police/fire pension funding issue on "their" short funding and the portion that the city has short funded, however the amount lost in the pension plan because of the stock market debacle is clearly on the backs of the private sector taxpayers.

Councilman Burlison wants to know if the people are going to be told which trees are going to be cut down, it appears some of the trees are diseased and need to be removed. Yes the park belongs to the city and by fiat the taxpayer however we the people should not nor should we expect to be informed of the removal of trees in a city park.

Council Bill 2010-143

Budget for the city, the budget is balanced however we know this is compliant on the revenue guesstimating of MMD and city staff.

Council Bill 2010-144

No assessed increase in property values, this is a good thing as the economy is stagnant.

Council Bill 2010-145

Fees for services, of course this is being billed as services the city is providing to the people, however much of these are services that are being forced onto people such as inspecting restaurants, replacing stop signs that get knocked over, and inspecting tanker trucks that haul fuel oil in Springfield, never mind that the DOT has the authority and the mandate to do this. The city is NOT a recognised DOT compliant organization.
Fred Ellison gave a talk about us being taxed enough, city attorney Dan Wichmer tried to use the KS fire fighters case as an explanation except he clearly misrepresented the entire case, but we find this behavior to be the norm.

Council Bill 2010-151

AG requesting Community Improvement District (CID) to build on property at West Battlefield and Kansas Ave and Kansas Expressway. I'm unaware that AG pays property taxes since after all they are a religious institution. This CID (1/2) is supposed to disappear after 15 years or when the development is paid off. I believe the CID if it didn't generate enough revenue to pay for improvements the developer could just ask for an extension. This is a single owner CID who is requesting the right to have the same authority as the city to collect and make use of tax money at their convenience.
Councilman Bailes asked why the taxpayers and/or the city should be requested to fund improvements when in reality the vacant lot was sold at a cheaper rate then a developed lot.

Fred Ellison discussing how this is going to effect the functionality of Battlefield Road and Kansas Expressway and with the latest improvements to this intersection especially since the improvements were done not that long ago. Also why can't the developer just raise the cost of their products.

Council Lady Rushefsky sides with Mr. Ellison on his points of picking winners and losers, increased traffic on an intersection which is already burdened to the extreme and the single developer CID.

MMD was asked to respond to the points raised by Mr Ellison but from listening to this response the questions aren't being answered except to say CID's have gone to single owners, and she passed on the raising the price of products question. Lawyer for developer says it is a competitive issue which could hinder the retailer on their sales.

Council Bills 2010-146

Accepting the budget of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This is done via the sales tax being collected on motel/hotel rooms, various grants from state and private enterprise funds.

Council Bill 2010-147

Changing job titles and giving raises not based on any merit but by simply reclassifying jobs. There are 13 additions and 11 deletions. Speaker says the increase equates to $300.00.

Councilman Ibarra asking about the Botanical Garden being built with ARRA funds and a position being created for a person to be hired in this area. Shiela Maerz is unaware if this position to be paid out of stimulus dollars. Normally these types of positions are a burden to the taxpayer with local tax dollars and not federal tax dollars.

S.E.I.U. union stewart is disappointed that their employees are getting a little bit of a shaft by the elimination of the step pay scale, which gives an individual a raise simply because of tenure.

Fred Ellison asking about these reclassification and why police are not being required to work down there leave and/or vacation as this adds to the pension plan problem as this pads to the end salary for retirement benefits. The problem we have is not one person looked further enough ahead to see how this was going to impact the pension fund.

Council Bill 2010-148

Requesting 1/2 MILLION in grants to relocate railroad wye to ease traffic flow and help remove trains from the center city area.

Councilman Chiles asking about passenger rail possibility of the downtown area if this action occurs.

Ibarra would like to know if this is in the vicinity of Chestnut Expressway and I-44.

Council Bill ?

Requesting that C.U. accept the bid of KPMG for their auditing firm.

Council Bill 2010-107

The Walgreen issue, which is kind of caused by the state legislature.

District Manager of Walgreens says this is a demand of customers and as a retail outlet they will try to meet the needs of the customer and they will do so responsibly. This is a limited product run and will not sell individuals only cases.

Councilman Rush request they withdraw the ordinance Walgreens spokesperson declined. main issue is being able to purchase a beer, toothpaste, toothbrush, and a prescription.

Councillady Rushefsky ask about how many stores in SPFD (9 total) (8 with liquor license), Walgreen's nationwide are requesting a beer and wine permit for the stores that aren't allowed to sell this commodity. Wants to know if the employees have been trained to recognise a person that is drunk and if the employees know what the customer does after they leave the lot....."It isn't the concern of Walgreen's nor the employees to what occurs to any customer that leaves the lot"

Councilman Bailes request if there has been any police actions in the "other" stores parking lots or disturbances requiring police actions.

Councilman Stephens what type of training does the employees go through in order to sell beer and wine.

Councilman Ibarra turns Rush's comment into nil because this same sequence can be accomplished at any Wal-Mart in town.

store manager speaks and shows the outlay of the store vs the school and front door to front door would be over 300' based on the fact that the front doors of the school are NO longer used because of the traffic volume on Kearney. The door into the school is in the middle of a courtyard on the south of the building whereas the store entrance is in the far northeast corner of the building.

Chris Davis, director of prevention at the Community of the Ozarks discussing abuse of alcohol if it is readily available, increased sales creates higher crime such as DUI, domestic violence, abuse, and various other crimes. Removing the availability of alcohol will diminish this type of behavior

Councilman Stephens wants to know if the studies cited were in any way forgiving the poor parenting of the children to which the speaker said no

Councilman Burlison asked if banning alcohol was a smart way to go based on what transpired in the past with banning alcohol.

Councilman Bailes asked for any info on whether there is any relevant studies on dry counties in Arkansas.

Dr Blaine states statistics show that 7.1 BILLION anually is being spent in alcohol related treatment, a study based on AMA criteria.
This law we are discussing has been on the books since 1957, which states that alcohol sales can only occur 200' away. Greene county medical association, local sherriffs department and various other agencies are not in favor of changing this ordinance. 7% of the population accounts for over 60% of the sales, to which Councilman Stephens says we should discuss this with the people who are consuing not the retailer.

Principle of Robberson urging City Council to turn down this request, it appears from a comment of the principle that school children are allowed to leave school grounds to walk over to Walgreens unattended, it appears that others at the media table heard the same comment HUH...?

PTA president discussing the safety of the children, elevated vandalism at the school and the aspect of heavier foot traffic caused by all the drunken winos who will be walking on school property

David Brundrick(? sp) Pacific Institute Research & Evaluation says the higher the availability of alcohol the higher the requirements of police services because of DUI, domestic violence, assault and various other crimes being committed by heavy drinking.

Sharon Altoroa(? sp) Started neighborhood watch in area, husband in Iraq currently serving 3rd tour. Says Walgreens is great for the community, the neighbors could not make meeting because they don't have access to transportation to attend meeting. Perhaps public transit doesn't service this area need to ask C.U. about this. She is in favor of the ordinance and sees it as a convenience as do many of the neighbors, an perhaps a vocal minority is pushing an agenda.

Council discussion is set to begin and they will take up the issue of granting a permit, if this is defeated then the other which denies the permit passes.

Councilman Rush says that Walgreens is being not beneficial to the neighborhood and will vote against the bill

Councilman Compton says we are being asked to do something which is arbitrary and not against the law. This is it is said a poor neighborhood and supports the permit

Councillady Rushefsky voting NO says Walgreens is a 2 BILLION dollar profit empire and this one store does not need to pad that figure by selling wine and beer at this outlet.

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