Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Money Matters at Tonight's Council Meeting

Financial quandaries face Metro Council members tonight, including whether to raise general water rates to compensate for reinstating lawn sprinkling discounts. There are also moves on the agenda designed so that the Council can monitor the exact number of copies of published materials for outside distribution and so that they can keep track on a monthly basis of the gas Metro vehicles are using.

I am curious as to why keeping track of copies and of gas has to be written into law. Can't individual Council members take it upon themselves to request these reports on a regular basis? Just sending copies of reports outside of these departments (with reports on the reports, if the copies-distribution bill passes) to every Council member does not guarantee that those members will read them, although more paper stacked up on their desks does make them look busy.

And there are other motions up for consideration that would seem to nullify efforts to save Metro money. For instance, I would like to know how much more the following measures are going to cost Metro:
  • Buck Dozier wants to let the Sheriff's auto fleet have the same flashing blue lights that Metro Police cruisers have. Is there some kind of inferiority complex tied up in non-blue lights? I guess the cost of removing the Sheriff's current flashing lights and replacing them with blue lights is moot since the Council gave the Sheriff's Office budget more money to play with this year, even though the Sheriff did not request it.
  • Jamie Isabel wants the Fire Department to staff an EMT at Council Chambers for all regular meetings in case on one of us citizens, whom he says are "very passionate and emotional," keels over during a meeting. I know I'm old-fashioned, but whatever happened to the idea of calling an ambulance or stocking a defibrillator?
  • Ludye Wallace wants to prohibit chain link fences in front yards. Have you ever noticed the high number of chain link fences in front yards around town? If so, then ponder the costs of policing all of these violators.
  • Ludye also wants the MTA to market public transportation to Metro and state employees to conserve energy. A worthy goal, but who is going to pay for the marketing campaign? Also, does this mean that Ludye will be taking the bus to Council meetings and that he will stop accepting the free parking space provided to him as a Council member?
If we've got to save money where we can, what's up blue lights, EMTs, fence prohibitions, and marketing campaigns?

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