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Girvan on her own
Mayoral candidate and at-large Councilwoman Debby Girvan was out on her own on two votes tonight. One of those 6-1 votes was on a measure that moved around $1.7 million in city capital funds. The other was on approving three sets of council meeting minutes, an action that is usually almost automatic at council meetings.
The capital spending shift is explained in this memo and this story. Basically, it allows the city to move some capital money out of two projects—including the Executive Plaza renovation—to replace some severely outdated equipment and reduce the amount it spend from its cash reserve in this budget year.
Saving on reserve spending will help the city get through the next budget year, as city sales tax revenues lag.
Before voting against the measure, Girvan said, “I am not questioning the importance of replacing this equipment. I am simply questioning a lack of planning or a lack of a schedule to replace this equipment.”
City Manager Phillip Rodenberg said city departments do have replacement schedules for their equipment. But there’s not always enough money available to keep to those schedules, and that’s why the emergency purchase was requested.
Councilman Matt Kelly said he thought the proposal was a prudent way to make some necessary purchases while freeing up the reserves to help with next year’s problems.
“I don’t understand why we want to sit here and say we’ll just wait ‘til next year and figure out what the heck we’re gonna do,” he said.
Girvan cast the only opposing vote.
A few minutes later, Girvan’s motion to hold back the minutes from the work session the council held last week on out-of-scale houses died without a second from any of her colleagues.
Girvan said she wanted the minutes of that work session corrected to include remarks by one Planning Commissioner and “points I made that I was quoted in the paper on” that weren’t there.
After she made the motion, though, everybody else around the horseshoe just sat silently with their eyes cast downward.
Mayor Tom Tomzak, who is also running for mayor, pronounced Girvan’s motion dead, and Kelly then moved to approve the minutes as they were submitted.
As the vote was called, Girvan said, “I just wonder if one of the council members who are making motions to approve these incomplete minutes will just explain why.”
More silence and downward glances.
“I read the minutes, I think the minutes reflect the meetings,” Kelly said.
Councilman Hashmel Turner said he thought council members could still make changes to the minutes after they were approved.
The minutes were approved 6-1, with Girvan opposed.