City Council Meeting 6/22/21

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Video should be available by 10:00 am on Wednesday, June 23. Due to a technical issue with our recording system, the public comment by Nick Kasoff is muted in the video. It was audible in the actual Zoom, and we will attempt to get a clip of it elsewhere.

This is a quick recap of tonight’s nearly three-hour long meeting, and more details will be added by Wednesday evening—please check back.

The meeting was attended by Eric Osterberg, candidate for city manager, although he was not formally recognized by council and was only seen briefly in passing by a doorway on the zoom view of the conference room at City Hall. Osterberg is visiting this week and had dinner at Ferguson Brew Co. with Fire Chief/Interim City Manager John Hampton and Assistant to the City Manager Chris Crabel. Chief Hampton did introduce Osterberg to residents while at the Brewhouse.

Tonight’s council meeting started with two public comments. In the first comment, Nick Kasoff derided the city for its lack of transparency, including the difficulty of obtaining public information requests, for holding so many closed sessions, and for its refusal to explain and justify the selection of vendors and contracts. This was followed by a comment submitted by Laverne Mitchom and read by Chris Crabel in his role as Deputy City Clerk during tonight’s meeting. Mitchom spoke against division and stated that she understands the need for closed sessions and spoke out against the “insidious statements” Nick Kasoff has made about City Attorney Apollo Carey which she feels are untrue. Mitchom asked that the council “lead the way in the clearing up of untruths.”

The City Manager’s report started with a promising report of economic development in the city with 45 new business opening this fiscal year and more to come soon, including Burlington Coat Factory anticipated to be open by October 1st.

A grittier report came from Chief Armstrong, who did give the good news that so far this year 97 traffic details have been completed compared to 19 done by this point last year. These are instances where an officer goes to a problem area and parks to observe and look for violations. Approximately 40 vehicles have fled when an attempt to stop and pull over the car was made. This year to date, 51 stolen vehicles have been located within the city. Current staffing, including a new officer graduating from Academy this week, is at 34 sworn officers.

Dave Musgrave gave an update on the pool repairs. A company came and jacked up areas where it was thought the leak was located, but only found it was elsewhere. A leak detection company is coming out this week and will be pumping helium through the line to pressure test and locate the leak. Once located, they will have to jackhammer through to make the repair and then patch up again. They are hoping work can be done next week barring more complications. He also explained that the cloudy water seen in the pool previously was due to a lack of training in using the filtration system. Staff has been retrained.

Dwayne James gave a special presentation on the Ferguson Twilight Run, which had over 800 registrants with over 500 in the in-person run. Over 18 states were represented among the runners. May 14, 2022 is the next Twilight Run date.

Several citizens were recognized for providing special service to the community during the pandemic.

A special presentation of the Property Restoration Program was made, and information will be available on the city website.

Reappointments and some new appointments were made to boards and commissions.

Resolutions for passing the city budget and capital improvement plan were passed, as were contracts for Parks and Recreation management software and for floodproofing the walls of the salt storage at the public works yard.

An ordinance authorizing the deed of transfer to the city of certain properties was read for the first time.

A pair of bills providing salary and wage adjustments for staff were read for the second time.

In Miscellaneous, the issue of the mayor’s reneging on an agreement for appointments to the Economic Development Sales Tax Board was raised. More on this issue will be coming.