Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Not this year for $10,000+ Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Sidewalk Safety Paths return as City's latest bone of contention.
The rare Monday City Commission Meeting was billed as a work session and called to determine the wording of questions for the the proposed City wide survey promoted through out 2015 primarily by City Manager Jay Cravens. At a prior City Commission meeting Mr. Cravens wondered aloud if the same set of questions asked in the 2012 survey, might, with minor modifications work again. At least in terms of a matrix.
Monday night he most salient question was however asked by Mayor Stuart Sherr who asked, "Do we really need a survey this year ?" A quick consultation by the commissioner determined that the City did not. One said the recent election was survey enough. Commissioner Sarah McClure said in 2012 there were twenty nine points City Commission wanted the residents opinion on. In 2015 that number was a mere nineteen.
Eventually in the course of a what would become a two hour meeting the City Commission decided a Survey would be better served by waiting till 2017.
For those of you keeping score at home that was a win for the current City Commission and a decided departure from the Mr. Cravens and five dwarfs commissions of the last three years.
The timing of the Survey could have been dispatched and voted on in a fifteen minute meeting but on Monday night something extraordinary, not seen in the City for five years happened. So extraordinary it lacked a name and the new arrivals we called Guest /Visitors until proper introductions could be made.
Approximately ten to twelve city residents from the Stratford Condominiums led by retired Commissioner Pat Hardy attended the meeting and wished to speak about their perceived need of a Safety path on Woodward Avenue. In previous administrations they would have be given the gate, an old expression which roughly translates as the Bum's Rush. Drop ins were not allowed to discuss Agenda items of the meeting they were attending. Therefore they were out of order.
Going back five Mayors, Zambricki (2011) would have listened but only up to a point. McClure (2012) would not have listened at all. Whatever "be nice to residents pixie dust" floating around the air duct system at City Hall (It is built on a slab) also effected her as well as she chatted amicably with the resident Guests/Visitors, comparing point for point.
Hardy (2013) would have been quite supportive but nothing happened in 2013 because the issues of the year was the Single waste hauler and the library millage renew. Residents in droves turned out to vote for or against those two issues. Dull (2014) would also been supportive (for paths on Woodward only) but not sure what protocol was required for loquacious Guest/visitors.
Sherr (2015) plunged right in and for the fourth time since his inauguration on October 10th gave a masterful performance as Mayor. He took comments from all in the order they were standing and follow up questions in the order of who raised their hand first. The likes of which have not been seen since the days of Mayor McCready (2010) when public comment occasionally took meetings near the midnight hour.
The most telling question of the commission was asked by the only man in the Strafford contingent who asked each commissioner for his or her stand on the subject . The vote was 4 to 1 against with Dull supportive of (Woodward Avenue only).
That is all the Visitor Guests are asking for. City wide plans for Safety Paths were rejected in 2007 as being prohibitively expensive. It was only a study. No vote was taken on the matter.To read the 30 page report titled Safety Plan Master Plan Click Here
It was prepared by Hubbel Roth and Clark Engineering consultants for both the City and The Township
The question posed was
The response was
Commissioners arguing lack of popularity of Safety Paths use the 2012 survey and the 2006 report and the 2012 Survey to justify that opinion. Advocates for Safety Paths argue the only the highest cost equations were used for the 2012 Survey and that 2006 report consider only a City wide plan.
Mayor Sherr has promised that the unless the matter is resolved otherwise Safety Paths will be on the 2017 Survey. Presumably in a mutually agreeable query. Until there are many points to consider.
Posted by Mark Kapel at 1:31 PM