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Council Watch 

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Like so many annual family dinners revolving around belt-tightening grunts and checkbook ledgers and off-brand TV dinners, all in the name of divining a sensible budget (the city would launch the first of two annual budget hearings after the regular council confab), this week’s agenda begged participants to keep their focus on the bottom line. Stop clacking your jaw over there, kid. This house isn’t going to keep itself! But, as the city is wont to do, there would be time for some ridiculous siphoning of cash and power into whimsical urban planning mistakes we’ll be paying for the rest of our lives. Oh, and making nice with the cops.

The city approves a resolution of necessity.
Translation: Did you hear that? There’s a necessity that needs to be resolved! Turns out that in its goal rush toward erecting another community venue – the inevitable soccer stadium – the city hasn’t quite yet acquired all of the land it needs from Parramore interests on Church Street. Two parcel owners are (wisely, shrewdly) holding out on land with a combined value of $2.9 million, according to the city’s appraisal. Getting that land is now officially proclaimed a “necessity,” because nice things are necessary, and the city – though it claims to still be in good-faith negotiations with the owners – is raising the eminent-domain flag just in case. If you can’t beat ’em, eminent domain ’em.

The city approves a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police.
Translation: Some union-thug haggling has been going on behind closed doors since April in order to address the fact that the city’s collective bargaining agreement with its cops has just expired. The big news here is that officers will be getting 2 percent raises annually over the next three years. The tradeoff, apparently, is that the city will lower its contribution to health insurance costs and reduce the cap on some accrued benefits.

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