City Council Meeting 02/07/2012
I watched last night’s city council meeting from home on Mediacom’s channel 16. As expected, council approved TIF funds for Coleman Rentals, approved the labor agreements with the police unions, and approved the chicken ordinance. And, as expected, the discussion of community and economic development organization funding consumed most of the meeting.
Most of the time spent on community and economic development organization funding was devoted to the mayor’s proposal to cut $120,000 from the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau’s budget and distribute that money to other organizations. CCTB executive director Debbie Moore delivered a 30 minute summary of the agency’s activities and former SIUC chancellor Sam Goldman delivered a speech opposing cuts to the CCTB.
After other organizations seeking funding gave their remarks, council returned to the CCTB issue. Council member Jane Adams asked a number of questions of CCTB executive director Debbie Moore. Adams’ questions were aimed at CCTB’s budget process, performance of its duties, and use of staff time. Mayor Fritzler cut Adams’ time short before she was able to finish asking her questions.
Council member Corene McDaniel delivered a fiery defense of CCTB and indictment of Fritzler’s plan. McDaniel pointed to the assortment of agencies Fritzler proposes funding with the money cut from CCTB and noted that Attucks Community Services, which provides services mostly to African-American children on the city’s northeast side, is not included.
Council member Lance Jack shared his concern that the city is moving too quickly to reallocate funds that have gone to CCTB in the past. Jack said he was open to reallocating the funds but wanted to be sure that whatever projects would receive the redistributed money are able to spend the money intelligently. A tense exchange with Fritzler followed.
Council member Don Monty echoed some of the concerns raised by Jack and McDaniel and added that he is concerned that city funding for some organizations might discourage people from volunteering with those organizations. Monty said that the funding levels proposed for some beneficiaries of the CCTB cut are too low to make much difference to those organizations – offering the Buckminster Fuller Dome and the Park District pool as examples.
Council member Lee Fronabarger pointed to a communications gap with CCTB and said he never knew how CCTB spent its money until he began studying the issue recently. He also said he’s heard complaints about CCTB’s performance of its duties – specifically that CCTB has been unresponsive to requests for help in organizing festivals.
Several community members spoke on the CCTB issue, some in favor of cutting funds from CCTB and some opposed. Council decided to continue the discussion of CCTB funding to the next meeting and to hold funding for all other organizations steady.
I’m going to withhold comment on the substance of this, but I will tell you that I’d vote to cut the funds from CCTB this year and every year until major changes were made to CCTB. To see what Fritzler proposes funding with $120,000 cut from CCTB, click here.
Comments are welcome.