Monday, July 18, 2011

VC tonight: Solid Waste and Creative Memories

Dear People: We have a light agenda for tonight's Village Council meeting. The main issue I would like feedback on is the issue regarding our solid waste (trash collection) contract--see yellow below. I also give thoughts about the Creative Memories deal, which I will endorse with some reluctance, as I explain below.

Second Reading and Public Hearing of Ordinance 2011-18 Amending the Zoning Code to Permit Internet Gaming Cafes as Conditionally Permitted Uses in the General Business District--I will vote yest. See my last VC meeting note.

Emergency Reading and Public Hearing of Ordinance 2011-19
Supplemental Appropriations. This looks like the standard shifting of funds midyear--it does look like costs are running a little higher than expected in some areas, but it's a little hard to tell--I will ask about this. (General fund budget is up by $30K, e.g., but it looks like we have more funds coming in to our Special Revenue sources--up by $35K; and quite a bit of small shifts in the Enterprise funds--but I'm not 100% sure what it all adds up to.)

Second Reading and Public Hearing of Ordinance 2011-20
Approving Transfer and Sale of Land to Peaches--I will again vote yes; see last VC meeting note from me.

Emergency Reading and Public Hearing of Ordinance 2011-21
Transfer from Electric Fund to Bond Retirement Fund--This is a transfer of $215.01 from Electric Fund to the Bond Retirement Fund. I will likely vote yes, because this is likely a minor blip--I'm not sure why such a small amount is even coming before us, unless perhaps it was inadvertantly left off the original budget.

Resolution 2011-26
Awarding Solid Waste Contract: We have competing proposals from Rumpke and Waste Management. The contract offers are very similar, with Waste Management's offer (probably) being slightly lower, although there are some variables that we can't be 100% sure of. Mark Cundiff, our manager, reasonably argues that the "intangibles" are arguably pretty equal, so he would suggest simply going with the lower of the two bids. However, I am leaning toward Rumpke because I'm hearing some positive feedback, they have been our provider for about 20 years, and they are a more regionally based company I would like to hear from you if you have strong feelings!

Resolution 2011-30
Approving Planning Services Contract with Schwab Planning Group LLC. This looks like a cheaper and more local source for Planning consultation; we've been working with Mr. Schwab for a long time through Woolperts, a national group, and he's now breaking off and becoming his own independent consultant--charging half as much as Woolperts. He's been a good consultant; I will be voting yes.

Resolution 2011-36 Waiving Section 206.01(b) Requiring Formal Bidding for the Purchase of a Police Cruiser. One resident is raising concerns about possibly getting a more energy-efficient alternative to the Crown Victoria cruiser (likely with a higher initial cost), which I hope we will have answers to, but on the face of it, this seems to be a reasonable request as a way to get the car we need and at a lower cost than our normal procedures.

Resolution 2011-37 Approving a Loan to Creative Memories: Pros and Cons: Here's the issue as I see it:

Pros: We need the tax revenues that the excellent jobs provided by companies like eHDS represent. Even if those employees do not live in town, and some of the do and will, we will get their municipal tax dollars by housing their jobs here. We know that good, beyond-minimum wage jobs are key to our sustainability as a community, and we are short on "A-1 office space"--office space that is in good shape, fully furnished, and ready for modern electronics and e-communication networks--of useable dimensions. This wall would create two such "A-1" spaces of a more useable size for most companies, and thus help to promote our economic growth. The forgiveness in the loan is contingent on CM's getting and retaining excellent employers in our community. Thus, there's incentive to getting both sides rented out. So on those levels, this is a reasonable loan.

Cons: I am aware, however, of the sentiment out there that Creative Memories is a big corporation that many would argue has caused pain and even damage to many residents of our community when it closed YS operations awhile back, and it seemingly could use its own funds to make the building more leaseable. The loan has had to be pulled together at the last minute and with some pretty major changes each time I received any new communication about it. So I am a little uneasy about it. I am also uneasy about whether this is good practice for the future--I believe we need better advice on these issues and it's hard to come by clear answers in economic times that are difficult--there's a "bidding wars" context for companies like eDHS between communities that can start to feel a little like blackmail--leadership from the state and national level on this would be helpful but is unlikely to be forthcoming. Finally, it seems frustrating that this is our current capitalist context in which the richest get the easiest access to funds, on the best terms, and those who are poor or just getting started have to go begging and can be easily reviled for any need for government support.

I will, with some concern and ambivalence, likely support this loan, but I am interested to hear your feedback.

I am going to go swimming now. In lieu of a poem, I give you a quotation from and link to the magnificent short story, "The Swimmer," by John Cheever, and urge you all to go read it now
, in some cool place:

"The sun was hot. Neddy Merrill sat by the green water, one hand in it, one around a glass of gin. He was a slender man—he seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth—and while he was far from young he had slid down his banister that morning and given the bronze backside of Aphrodite on the hall table a smack, as he jogged toward the smell of coffee in his dining room. He might have been compared to a summer's day, particularly the last hours of one, and while he lacked a tennis racket or a sail bag the impression was definitely one of youth, sport, and clement weather. He had been swimming and now he was breathing deeply, stertorously as if he could gulp into his lungs the components of that moment, the heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure. It all seemed to flow into his chest. His own house stood in Bullet Park, eight miles to the south, where his four beautiful daughters would have had their lunch and might be playing tennis. Then it occurred to him that by taking a dogleg to the southwest he could reach his home by water. His life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained by its suggestion of escape. He seemed to see, with a cartographer's eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife."

--"The Swimmer" by John Cheever


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