Notes: For now, 10/6/02, this is just a quick, rough DRAFT of only various comments at this bd mtg: a set made by me; & others' comments & such regarding: the levee mgr's salary; & Bill 1698, Ord 1572 an ord amending Ord #1505 re: additional properties subject to appropriation & condemnation; & ethics; & town hall meetings; & levee audit; & EM answering levee questions; & RC to be secretary of levee cmsn.
I'm sorry I don't have time to section it off properly. This draft will be replaced with the full set of finalized minutes whenever I possibly can.
9/3/02 Bd Mtg in part - DRAFT
DM: Maureen Morris to speak on the levee - reminder of 2-min limit on speakers.
MM: My name is Maureen Morris. For 15 years I have owned property at #8 Arnold Dr that has provided me with rental income & the city with tax revenue. For over two years now, certain stage people here & others have been destroying my life, financially & emotionally.
First of all in '98, a developer who has been a long-time associate of Eric Martin's, signed a $100,000 contract to buy my #8 commercial property from me, altho he failed to close. Since then, I have never been a willing seller as (I nervously left out "fair") market value mandates. In July 2000, Eric Martin wrote that my property was required in connection with the levee & offered me only $30,123. He threatened me with condemnation, so I said I'd sell for $125,000, considering appreciation & other factors since the $100,000 contract 2 1/2 yrs previously.
In 2001, Martin said that only a large portion of my front yard would be taken. I would be allowed to keep my house & garage, both untouched, but the levee & its road would be 20' in front of my 4-car garage. But tremendously encouraged, I then spent many thousands of dollars, & actual blood, sweat & tears improving my property. (obviously on the verge of tears) I currently have it rented for $995/month, plus utilities; expenses are negligible.
Just last Friday, EM's letter stated to me that suddenly my entire property is needed again, not only for the levee, but also now to eliminate blight. As I understand it, blight means heavy-handed redevelopment. He has allowed me 10 days to respond to his $53,000 joke!
It is crystal clear to me that the City of VP, in connection with the US Army Corps of Engineers, is attempting a landgrab of my commercial property, for their profit & at my expense. Responsible individuals are abusing Valley Park's $43M levee project, federal levee project that's going on & on & on here, knowing full well that the goal is redevelopment of my property in connection with Tax Increment Financing.
I have been reliably informed that city officials & others have discussed selling my property along with 3 to the east, to developers for about $6M once it's levee protected & elevated out of the floodplain, er elevation out of the floodplain is underway, via a federal levee dumping scheme. It is not right to confiscate my property just so the city can transfer it to another private owner.
I am your taxpayer & you have treated me despicably, without respect or empathy. And when I have the floor, that means that I have your attention, please. Thank you. I do not want the city & me to go through court & neither of us want - DM: I'm going to give you another 30 seconds. MM: & neither of us want those expenses, except maybe Martin.
I just want to be left alone to possibly redevelop my own property at my own expense & benefit after levee completion. I've already paid for the levee. If you force me to sell-out & find a different place, you should at least do what is right & ethical - pay me the amount of money my property is truly worth. Instead of trying to rip-off selected taxpayers, I strongly urge you to refocus on finishing the levee immediately. Thank you. (Much applause is thankfully heard.) (9/3/02 mtg continues)
Later in 9/3/02 bd mtg: DA: I understand that probably at the next mtg we'll have a salary ord to support this. I'd ask that the mayor, & I also spoke with the chairman of the FW&M Cmte, I have one request at that point in time & that was in regards to the uh, local, uh levee mgr position, & um a slight increase & at a, a, a very moderate level for quite a few yrs & I think ________ benefit of having that person. So I'd ask that that ord be prepared to reflect an increase in that position. DM: We'll ask for a motion for atty to draw it up after this motion - DA: Actually the mayor could authorize the atty to draw that. DM: Alright, I'll - can you remember the dollar amt? DA: ________ $400. DM: $400 increase? DA: Yes, per month. DM: $400/mo increase. q/c? (all vote yes) ...
Later in 9/3/02 Bd Ald Mtg - DRAFT cont'd: PP: ...Ord #1572, an ord amending Ord #1505, by adding additional properties subject to appropriation & condemnation. EM: For the bd's info, all the exhibits are contained over in the info section of your packets. Um they're, they're not #'d, but it starts, it's D-1007 (someone coughs), ___7C-2 & C-4. It, it looks like they're starting 5 pages from the back of where it's marked ___________ properties. DA: YH, I'll move approval of Bill 1698, proposed Ord #1572. DM: Is there a 2nd for Bill 1698? RC: I'll 2nd that. DM: q/c?
DA: I'm asking _______, that's why I made the motion, but again this property is needed to further our progress on the levee. Um I certainly would hope the bd members would support that. DM: q/c? All in favor say aye. (some do) Opposed. (none) 2nd reading of Bill 1698, Ord 1572, caption form, please PP. PP: Bill #1698, Ord 1572, (same as above). DA: Move approval of Bill 1698, proposed Ord 1572 on the 2nd & final reading. DM: Is there a 2nd? (someone does)
JW: discussion, YH. I don't have a problem supporting this to get the levee proceeding a little quicker, if EM & I guess the ald in that ward & the mayor can honestly tell me they felt that we have exhausted all avenues to be fair to the residents & the business owners that's involved in this. We're not doing just a, what's RC say, point, aim, shoot type thing. EM: This isn't the lawsuit, this is just designating properties that are in the levee ROW - JW: yeah, for - EM: or subject to it. JW: yeah, for condemnation. EM: Well, that's, I mean that's the procedure you use. You, you have to start off with the fair market value & we will as a matter of what we have to each one of these people, done that. I'm still talking with ah -
JW: Well, if you're still talking, why would we want to jump to this? EM: Because that's the way to do it. You go ahead & you have an ord designating the properties the city needs to take, otherwise you can't go out & do what you need to do. JW: I can't believe these properties haven't been listed or how would you be talking to them already then? EM: We didn't have the exact legal descriptions until the engineer provided these drawings here. JW: I just think our timing's always off on these deals, but it's just my opinion.
DA: In my recent wisdom, I learned some time instead of to not get involved, & but professionals that are (someone coughs) been trained (audience mumbling) to do these items to do that. Again, I, I would not want a conflict with any of these people on a personal level. It's a nasty, unfortunate deed to have to take property. Again, I, I certainly um would hope EM would negotiate in good faith. Again, I do believe that after negotiation is done, a proposal will be brought back to the bd for approval or send it to litigation if necessary.
Tku. DM: I believe since we vote on these, it is our duty to become involved. If we find out 6 mos from now, we should not have condemned it, then that's ___________ the bd. q/c? (roll call: No: JW. Yes: BL, RC, DA, RS, TB, RH.) DM: Motion carries.
ROUGH DRAFT cont'd of 9/3/02 Bd Ald, later in mtg: PP: This is the one I had, 1695, Ord 1573, according to MO Statute we have to readopt this Conflicts of Interest. It's under the MO ETHICS CMSN, we have to readopt the yearly requirement & send it in to the state by the 15th of Sept & this is the ord for readopting. DM: Was this ____ properly posted? PP: Yes. DM: Pls read caption form. PP: Bill #1699, Ord 1573, an ord reestablishing an ord of the City of VP, MO to establish a procedure to disclose potential conflicts of interest & substantial interests of certain municipal officials. DM: Bd's pleasure? BL: Move approval. (someone 2nds)
JW: I didn't get that one in my packet, so I'm gonna vote no since I didn't have a chance to go over it. PP: Sir, I sent you a separate package with that in it. RC told me it was in the book. RC: (ETC) PP: ... #1573. (roll call vote) RH: No! I haven't ________________________ . (audience mumbles admonishingly & there are 2 gavel bangs) TB: I'm sorry, I thought I _________here, but I __________ . (a few aud giggles) PP: If we don't not pass this ord, gentlemen, we'll be in violation of MO JW: Better get 'em down here. Statutes & I have _____ letter here from the state - do it every year. TB: _____________ . (Someone says you can have mine, then 10 secs silence except mumbling aud.) (9/3/02 bd mtg continues)
ROUGH DRAFT cont'd of 9/3/02 Bd Ald, later in mtg: DM: ... working together. Also _______ a mtg with BL this week, hopefully on Thurs to discuss some potential candidates for mtg with them, fill the seat for ald for Ward 4, which we've gone over 4 mos to fill that. So be calling a special bd mtg Mon, 9/9, 7:00. Hopefully the person will be approved. Also some citizens have come up to me concerned about the mtg we had last week. They still have questions they'd like to see answered.
So at 7:30, I'm not calling it, but facilitating a Town Hall Mtg at 7:30 this coming Mon. It's not singling out any particular ald. It's for the 7 ald. If somebody wants to come in & ask, it's not saying anybody did wrong or whatever. There's different questions on what people have for the town, so hopefully people come in with the questions & if they don't get questions at that time, they can fill 'em out for a later report. People have a right to assemble & agree to disagree, but if they'll bring in their questions at that time, to be able to bring 'em to the bd.
EM: I, just to clarify. There, there's nothing in the statutes that pertain to a Town Hall Mtg ___________ ; however, I would (2 gavel bangs) suggest that if the bd wants to call a special mtg, or the mayor, _____ ordinances, that it do so with an open forum agenda 'cause I think that the Sunshine Act says ______ things. One is 24-hr notice, two is an agenda, & 3 is _________. Any time you have a majority or a quorum of the Bd of Ald there, I think you need all 3, & I would strongly suggest that rather than just say a Town Hall Mtg with an open agenda that would go ahead &, & just make it a Special Bd of Ald Mtg. where you have minutes taken. That way we have a record too of what questions & responses were.
DM: If citizens want to come in & ask things in general, it should only be at a bd mtg & not - EM: I, I believe so. DM: ________ . EM: Town Hall Mtgs are a concept to run governments in New England. __________ ____________________& MO provides for ordinances by the city & the city has special mtgs to conduct its business, & that would be the forum I would urge you all to do & then that way, you comply clearly with the Sunshine _________ does call for written minutes of mtgs that public members discuss.
JW: YH, I move that you have a Special Bd Mtg at 7 pm & a ah Open Agenda Special Bd Mtg that would allow audience participation at 7:30 pm, at city hall. DM: is there a 2nd? DA: YH, I don't think you need to actually have a motion made to do that. DM: Okay, by mayor's prerogative, I'll go ahead & call a Special Bd Mtg at 7 pm, 9/9, concerning appointment of a Ward 4 Ald replacement & at 7:30, mtgs with open agenda. (then clerk's report, etc)
Later in 9/3/02 bd mtg - rough draft cont'd:
JW: Are we ever gonna get an official audit from an outside source? DM: That's part of the process, isn't it? EM: I think, we, we, - JW: The school & fire keep asking when they're gonna receive their - EM: That, that was sent to them Mon, Tues, Fri -cut off by JW: Did the ald get the same info that they got? DM: (someone coughs) _______? PP: Yeah. Took one yesterday. You told me that day. Yeah, one in our office, one to Fire Dept, & one to - JW: Could the ald get that? DM: You want it before the next mtg or in the next packet? I'll send it out.
JW: I'd like to see it before I pay that bill, but it looks like I'm stuck into again payin' for something without knowing what the background is. Go ahead. EM: Wait a second. This is in your packet. It's been in the packet since Thurs, together & the letter from the COE is dated 8/7. Here, I'll show it to you. JW: Just proceed, mayor. RC: YH, if I might - JW: What's that got to do with the uh calculation of the levee? I get questioned everything about the budget of this levee & the review & you sent something to the school. Can you, gonna show me that & the firehouse, what they got? EM: You got it uh 6 mos ago. _______ prepared it, distributed it to the bd. JW: But I didn't! EM: It's the same thing, _____________ - JW: I can't believe in 6 mos you didn't spend a nickel in 6 mos, so I can't believe it's the same thing. EM: Well, he went back to 1992. JW: I'm not gonna argue with Mr. Martin, but we need an audit.
EM: We have one. DM: Accounting audit, or a full - JW: a full, from the git-go. That's what the school & fire district requested. I can't believe that that's what they got. They wouldn't keep asking for it. DM: Is there a 2nd? PP: We have a motion on the floor to pay the bills. DM: Ok, any q/c on paying the bill? RC: YH, is that out of the TIF? DM: Yes it is. EM: It's out of the project acct. RC: So, really we're not paying it out of GO? EM: No. DM: All in favor of paying this first request, say aye. (all or some do) Opposed. (none heard) JW, did you have a motion for a full audit or ? - JW: Yes. DM: Is there a 2nd? TB: Is this supposed to eventually what's going to happen anyway, an audit to ah.
EM: Yeah, this is all subject to what's called a Single Audit Act. What, what disbursements that we make that are eligible for cost credits, are subject to. It's not an independent auditor, it's a Dept of Defense Audit Agency auditor. They come in & they open up the books & they go back from 1992 all the way to the present. Um, Croghan's office was asked uh, about 6 mos ago before Ald Michel took office to conduct an audit solely of TIF expenditures, as opposed to his general audit of the city, & he did that. Um, um, &, & I, at least I thought all the ald were provided a copy that I, I may stand corrected. It's, it's a very lengthy document. Um, & just recently with the request from the school & the fire bd, he was asked to update that & he's done that. & the fire bd & the school bd have both been notified.
RC: YH. DM: Is there a 2nd before we move on, to JW's motion or I guess it died for lack of a 2nd. RC: I'd like to light a candle here instead of continually cursing in the dark. What we used to do uh several yrs ago, we used to have a uh, the city auditor attend the levee comsn mtgs. He was a non-voting & he was actually pretty handy to have around. & what is happening is, just because uh EM is available, just because he has some idea of what's happening, he's been fielding questions for everybody but himself.
So I would like to say if we wanted to keep uh this badgering & finding something that isn't right, I'm pretty sure that what we need to do is we need to ask the people who are involved in that as the primary source. In other words, let's hold questions for the COE for the COE; hold the questions on the uh finances, to the auditor; let's hold the questions on all of these different issues for the right people & then I believe, not only does the city gain the information at the levee cmsn level, but I think the ald that are sitting on that cmsn, will be able to be more responsive to the questions that are being asked. It's a simple thing to do. You know, just to have the city eng there 'cause sometimes these questions are city eng questions & let's get 'em all around the same table. That's what the levee cmsn was designed for which DA down there put into effect.
DM: I don't think everything could be just immediately dropped in each little package. It - cut off by RC: Yes, sir. It can very neatly be dropped into it, sir, & was done back when DA set the cmsn up & it took an unnecessary amt of uh heat off of one individual. This one individual, whether, & I have not proven to be a fan of of really the legal thing goin' on here, but I'm gonna tell you this. He has answered questions over the past yr & a half that should've been answered by somebody else. DM: You're sayin' he is - RC: So I'll make it a motion, YH, to have the city eng, have the city auditor & to have uh the COE answer their own questions, & if EM says that he thinks that's not a question that he thinks he should be answering, he can direct it to those people & get a response back to us. Now we're lighting candles & we're not cursin' the dark. JW: I'll 2nd that, YH.
DM: Is this disbursemt request strictly a legal issue in your opinion? Accounting info here? RC: If that disbursemt request is passed, at table, we're gonna find out what it is. I've got a motion. If I got a 2nd, let's go for it. DM: All in favor of the motion, say aye. (only DA is heard) Opposed. (none heard) Motion carries.
RC: Now, YH, I got a comment. I wanted to (___rep?) the city atty for levee counsel. Now if it isn't a question that he should be answering that he stops doing it because he's taking unnecessary pressure __. & if I get a 2nd on that, I'd like to have that too because I - DA: 2nd. RC: I really want to clear the air here. There's 4 entities that's involved in this levee. His niceness has become a weakness. PP: .. the city atty to do what, sir? RC: To cease answering questions that the city eng, that the city auditor & that the COE should be answering. DM: DA 2nds, q/c?
DA: Just a suggestion. I could tell you that some past experience has told me that understood records & good minutes of these mtgs, um can keep questions from reoccurring, the same question mtg after mtg. Uh & I'm gonna let this be your decision. Um the recommendation I'll be making to you _________ this uh motion is that if you would allow RC to basically be the secretary of that levee cmsn, I will assure you, you will get more notes & info that you could possibly want, but it will be an actual accounting & good records. That's just a comment; um, but I'll support the motion. (?: ________) DM: RC, do you care to be secretary for the levee cmsn? RC: If I'm the voting rep of the 3rd Ward, I'll take it. I won't take unless I __________ . DM: Ok. Is there a motion to adjourn? RS, 2nd by RH. All in favor, say aye. (some or all do) (9/3/02 Bd Ald Mtg adjourned. End of quick, rough draft.)