Jim Arnold’s View of City Council 4-6-09 Part 2

Ya Shoudda been there: Part 2.

Oddly enough the mayor declined to speak although she speaks at most City Council meetings. Perhaps she didn’t want to step into the middle of the maelstrom that was playing out at the Monday night meeting, but in my opinion she should have spoke up. Unfortunately for the Mayor, her responsibilities do require that she take the heat from City Council when necessary.

OK back to the resolution. If memory serves me, only Sam voted against the introduction of the resolution, which passed as it only needed a simple majority for introduction. Next, the Council was asked to suspend the normal rules to allow the resolution to be approved in the same meeting that it was introduced. This special vote would require a 100% “Yes” vote to pass and was quickly snuffed out when Councilman Mike King axed the rules suspension with a firm “No” when his name was called bringing the special vote to a fiery end.

It was interesting theatre watching council members who normally support the fire fighters question the purchase of a ladder truck desperately needed to protect those same firefighters and the citizens they serve, but it all became clear when the ongoing negotiations between the Mayor and Center Township Trustee Kay Walker were touted as the answer for our current dilemma. If the Mayor and Center Township Trustee Kay Walker could negotiate an amicable agreement for Muncie to take over fire protection for Center Township we would have the use of the Center Township fire trucks including a Ladder truck.

What wasn’t mentioned on Monday is Center Township Trustee Kay Walker’s demand that the inter-local agreement must guarantee that the MFD staffing levels are maintained at the current staffing minimum. Perhaps the theatrics at Monday’s meeting was less about fiscal responsibility and more about turning up the heat on the Mayor to force her to sign an agreement with Center Township, agreeing to staffing levels that we might not be able to afford with our current budget constraints. Locking in those levels might become even more problematic over time if our population continues to decline, and the recent closure of Borg Warner does not bode well for population counts or property tax revenues.

I expect to see a large crowd at City Council next month. In the mean time I will be negotiating for the popcorn franchise

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