(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Below is an email I sent to the council of the City of Fraser ( where I live) before an online-only meeting tonight of the monthly gathering required by the city charter.
This meeting being held tonight has some items that I feel could clearly be held off until the national and state emergencies are rescinded and accounting of where the state and city finances will be. This is not the time for any spending of any type that is not “essential” and this needs to be made clear not only here but in your hometown also.
Take a look below and consider checking in on what your local officials are doing during this unique time in our nation’s history.
I am writing to you to share my thoughts on tonight’s “historic” council meeting where you will meet virtually and no citizens will be present to voice concerns on agenda items. I listened in to the test run yesterday and I understand the concerns that were voiced and why you choose this route. Particularly after what happened in Charlevoix last Sat. Free Press
Hopefully, though, this will be the only time this body meets in this manner where the citizens are limited in such a manner. Even if it is ONE person that seeks to speak to you in an open setting, that should be allowed to happen.
A couple of points I would like to bring to your attention.
According to tonight’s agenda which is listed here City Council Agenda April 9th
I’m curious about these.
Agenda Item 7: A, B, C.
How do you “set a date” for public hearings when you do not know when the Governor is going to lift her order? Does anyone have an idea of when this will happen? The correct answer is, you don’t. So putting any actions that are going to raise TAXES or fees on this agenda is both nonsensical during the crisis we going through and quite frankly a public relations. #$% &*. You can’t set a date so why list it?
Agenda Item 7: D & E.
As you all recall, I expressed concern about the “plan” that was dumped on the council last Dec on purchasing new park equipment. That was not so much a “plan” but a wish list because 8 parks were ignored for one over the past 10 years. I expressed my dismay to the council in one on one conversations about how the time has come to stop dumping a pile of junk in front of the elected officials once a month and hope you approve it or make you look stupid in the process if you don’t.
While I look forward to this proposal tonight, why on Earth this is on the agenda tonight when the public is being limited due to unforeseen circumstances is once again beyond me. The same goes for sidewalk proposals. Having people in these affected areas speak pro or con for this would be the smart thing to do here. Once again due to this virus that is not possible at the moment so postpone it.
Now in my conversations with some of the elected officials here, I have been told two things unequivocally.
*Council does not set the agenda.
*Some things have to be done required by law.
So let me answer that for all to see.
The city manager should NOT be putting anything on the agenda right now that is not essential. Parks and sidewalks are not. If they are for some reason I want the exact reasons listed with links why. We are in such a crisis right now that city hall is closed, employees are at reduced hours not only here but across the state and country and we need to spend money on swings.
We are currently in a recession that numbers-wise will look like the Great Depression at the turn of the last century that might or might not last long. Property values could crash, state revenue will be cut and you all know what that means for small cities like Fraser. Now is the time for bucking down not spending because it was on a previous agenda to be discussed.
I hope that more clarity will come from the state at the end of the month where you could once again do a meeting (virtually if necessary) where you could set dates for Public Hearings for people to come out and voice their opinions and questions regarding any tax increases. I have always stood on the side, even if I agree or disagree with certain individuals) of more voice being heard not less.
You cant hate my style but I’m consistent on that.
I hope those of you on the council will consider this tonight at the meeting and stand on the side of being good stewards of what the city currently has in money and holding off on unnecessary spending at this time.
We all have been dealt a bad hand with this Covid-19. However, in poker, when you dealt a bad hand you can still win if you play it smart.
Play it smart tonight.
Host of “Bourbon On The Rocks”on WAAM 1600 & 92.7 F.M. Ann Arbor and FTR RadioFront Page Contributor at Red State”Bourbon On The Rocks” direct line: 586-840-8559Email: [email protected]