While in attendance at the Syracuse City Council Meeting of September 27, 2011 I took the following notes. They’re not the official record, but I post them so there can be another record of events from the meeting to keep the “official” record honest.
The following notes are organized according to items on the agenda.
Meeting called to order
- The Mayor called the meeting to order and
- asked if anyone from the audience would like to give an invocation or opening thought.
- No one from the audience volunteered, so the Mayor asked CM Kimmel.
- CM Kimmel offered a prayer asking for those present to remember the proper role of government.
Approval of Minutes
- The minutes of the 8/9/11 Work Session and the 8/9/11 Regular Meeting were adopted with CM Kimmel bringing a request from Joni Panucci to include the names she specifically mentioned at the previous meeting in the minutes of that meeting.
- Cassie said she’d review the recording and change that section to reflect the comments verbatim.
- Mr. Zaugg: stick to the City recommendation for the North Davis Corridor.
- TJ Jensen: spoke about the Bluff Road route and the Antelope interchange; brought up I-215 sizing and presented overlays.
- Bruce Schofield: spoke of the stuggles that early residents and farmers overcame to settle here and be productive farmers and their struggles shouldn’t be forgotten and replaced with a road.
- Charlie Black: brought up the fact that farms are Agriculturally Protected and any alternative must be taken rather than impact farms.
- John Lewis: recommended all citizens go to the city budget and compare it to the State audits.
- Jerald Jacobs: feels the city is under-reporting operational costs specifically the bond payments of various departments.
- Joe Levi: spoke about the City Council is not complying with State Law regarding rules of order and procedure and recommended the council adopt Roberts Rules of order. When 3 minutes was reached he illustrated what happens when someone doesn’t follow the rules — by ignoring the “limit to 3 minute” request. The Mayor asked him to sit down, then followed up by saying “You’re done.” (A full write-up of Mr. Levi’s comments will be included in an upcoming article.)
- Anita: asked the city put a cap on incentives specifically for the Mayor and Council Members. The Mayor replied that Mayor and Council are not eligible for those incentives.
- Val Cook: brought up budget discrepancies. Mayor told him to submit a GRAMA request for the book they had at the budget retreat.
- Mayor: the city just got the highest award for excellence in financial reporting. Some quotes from her comments
- “We have done everything we can to be transparent and open…”
- “This is a very notable award… “
- “For the first time in 4 years we took in more money than we paid out…”
- “There is no cooking of the books… “
- “We have nothing to hide… “
- “The more our economy goes in the toilet the more important it is to grow and produce our food locally.”
- UDOT spoke on the refined West Davis Corridor routes.
Site plan approval for Syracuse Assisted Living Facility, phase 1.
- Discussion about types of care.
- Only 10 parking spots (including 2 handicapped) are in the plan. Much discussion was heard on whether or not this was enough. The opinion was that it was not. The Mayor commented that before Phase 2 of the plan would be approved they’d have to solve the parking issue.
- A motion to approve was given by CM Shingleton, seconded by CM Clark.
Public Hearing on Issuance of Bond.
- No one rose to speak in a “timely fashion” so the Mayor asked for a motion to move out of the Public Hearing and onto the next agenda item, which passed.
- Karianne Lisonbee asked to go back to to these previous item on the agenda, but the Mayor refused.
- CM Shingleton made a motion to go back which was seconded by CM Kimmel.
- The Mayor appeared upset with the motion and began to squabble with CM Shingleton.
- CM Shingleton pressed the issue that a motion had been made and held the Mayor to her previous precedent that nothing in the meeting can be done until the motion is resolved.
- The Mayor said “this is my meeting and I’ll run it how I want!“
- CM Shingleton didn’t give in (it was the Mayor’s previous precedent he was using to press the issue).
- The Mayor finally gave in and heard the motion and second.
- CMs Ocaña, Peterson, and Clark voted against the motion; CMs Shingleton and Kimmel voted for.
- Motion failed.
Public Hearing on Authorization to Dispose of Surplus (Public) Property.
- Joe Levi asked the Council to consider allowing Right of First Refusal to purchase properties be extended to those who own property adjacent to those to be disposed of. He cited an example of a San Francisco homeowner who had a similar 18′-wide “buffer property” that ran the length of their lot. The homeowner was assured no one could ever build on the lot: it wasn’t zoned residential, it was too small, the homeowner need not worry. A City Council with a simple majority vote allowed a house to be built on the lot, just two feet from the property line. A similar City Council action could happen here. He commended the city on their Public Gardens and that if the expense of upkeep of those properties was a concern, they could be kept public and turned over to the citizens to upkeep as Public Gardens. Additionally, the Mayor herself made the comment that we need to be able to grow our own food earlier in the meeting, and this would be an ideal way for the City to encourage that.
- The Mayor asked about the legal precedence to allow Right of First Refusal to the residents adjacent to the properties, and that it was the in opinion of the Council that those would be the people interested in purchasing said lots.
- Cassie said she’d look into to.
- Authorization to begin the process was approved.
Ordinance 11-10 amending General Provisions in Title Eight (…)
- Passed, with the “section on animals” stuck and returned to the Planning Commission.
Resolution R11-31 enacting an employee incentive program.
- Mayor: it has to pass the sniff test.
- Ultimately was approved after discussion on caps of percentages versus straight dollar amounts.
Resolution R11-30 requesting recertification on the Syracuse Justice Court.
- Cassie summarized state law requirement.
- Resolution as approved.
Canvass and Consideration of certification of the results of the Syracuse City Primary Election held 9/13/2011.
- Unanimously approved.
- Ocaña: past and upcoming events; meet the candidates night items were brought up regarding time limits on public comments, we are in-line with other cities, consistency on the 3 minute limit should be enforced, but groups should be allowed to speak “longer” (but this would be less than the combined speaking time of the members in the group), recommended moving comment to the end of the meeting. “Armchair accounting isn’t always right.”
- Shingleton: spoke on the coordination of the three cities and worries of the resurrection of DTEC.
- Clark: commented on needing to define the rules. Wasatch waste management board, what’s our long term plan for the burn plant? China traffic, the rule there is “there are no rules”.
- Peterson: police 5k race with CM Ocaña. Sewer board: audit found no problems, paid off two small million dollar bonds; contracted with farmers to take all the bio solids, no more free fertilizer for city residents.
- Kimmel: urged the Planning Commission and staff to lean toward more freedom and private property rights. Thanked TJ for the West Davis Corridor comments. Regarding Public Comment, he favors comments at the end (as well as the beginning), and the minimum time raised, he also favors allowing more time for groups, but also feels that should be less than the combined individual time. “The Citizens are my boss. I don’t tell my boss ‘you’ve got 3 minutes and then I’m cutting you off'”. He favors extended public comment. He’s worried about the “study group” and DTEC land use if SR-193 brings rezonong from agricultural to industrial – “if the land owners don’t want to be rezoned they should be able to stay in their zone without government changing it and ultimately charging higher taxes”. “The private property owner is king.”
- Mayor spoke to Joe Levi about rules and said the rules are in the City Ordinance, therefore the City is complying with State Law. The City Attorney has assured her she is holding the meetings in compliance with State Law.
- She spoke generally on taxes, zoning, and payment of “roll back taxing” on rezoned lots paid by the buyer at sale time.
- “We have no desire to enter into a tri-city zoning or revenue sharing agreement.”
- “The tax issue is a non-issue
- Time for public comments: she has tried to be consistent enforcing the 3-minute limit, public comment with elected officials shouldn’t be limited to 3 minutes in the meeting, dialog should be carried on before and after the meetings
- Hot air balloon festival: she got to “fly the balloon without peril”
- “During election time its sexy to talk about how terrible the city is being run”
City Manager Report:
- Nothing to report.