Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bond Vote

The Rensselaer City Council voted on two bond resolutions last night, which would have authorized purchase of equipment for removing snow and leaves, and keeping creeks and culverts clear to prevent flooding. Some items were replacements for flood-damaged equipment, and some were substitutions (such as a front-loader to remove snow more quickly than the damaged snow blower). New York State officials promised to fully reimburse Rensselaer for up to $500,000 for the equipment purchased from the list. The money could not be used for other projects.

This had been debated at previous meetings, so by last night, the arguments seemed abbreviated. Council President Charles Hall presented the reasoning for voting against the bonds, which seemed to be that we should have had flood insurance (which no one disputed), and if we didn't have to replace this equipment, perhaps we might have been offered state money for fixing the creek culvert instead. He took issue with the wording of the first resolution, which didn't mention the flood, and said the equipment list wasn't a piece-for-piece replacement of damaged equipment. No amendments to the resolutions were proposed, and no alternate solutions were proposed at this meeting.

Seven votes were needed to approve the bonds, and only six members voted yes. Members who voted for the bonds were William Lithgow (ward 3), Dominick Tagliento (ward 5), Brian Stall (ward 6), Lillian Dominski (ward 7), Richard Mooney (ward 8), and Patricia Jackson (ward 9). Members who voted against were Scarlet Blowers (ward 1), Albertine Felts (ward 2), and Charles Hall (President). Kimberli Conger (ward 4), who had voted against the bonds in the previous meetings, did not attend this meeting. This was the third vote on the larger of the bond measures, so it can't be raised again. The second (smaller) bond was only voted on twice.

Here is an article from WNYT Channel 13, one of the two news teams filming this meeting: Rensselaer leaders defeat a measure that would use State money to replace damaged equipment.

I'm not intending to become a political blogger, so you probably won't see many City Council reports here. However, I do want to see the City post their agendas and minutes online, as all our surrounding communities do, to provide more transparency and public access.

Times Union: Rensselaer mayor says vote will haunt city this winter; Rensselaer's Snow Fight
Troy Record: Rensselaer prepared for storm?