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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.

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