SPECIAL CALLED MEETING #2 (Results of Special Meeting #1 have been added at the end of this post. Both meetings can be viewed here.)
The following are some of my statements made last night along with the three motions I made regarding the $18 million loan for water/sewer projects in conjunction with the EPA mandate discussed here, here and here. None of them passed, but I appreciate that council allowed for discussion of each. The resolutions for the loan passed 6-1 with mine being the lone nay vote. Thanks to all who attended last night’s meeting or watched on tv. It was a lengthy meeting, but your participation is critical to the success of our city. I will update this post with additional details at a later date.
I would like to first apologize to the residents and businesses of Oak Ridge. Your city government has failed you. You have been led to believe that your rising utility bills are the result of circumstances out of anyone’s control. You have been led to believe that your last two rate increases were due to an EPA mandate. And you have been led to believe that city officials have done everything within our power to alleviate the financial burdens of this mandate. You have been misled on all counts.
Unfortunately, what has been done cannot be undone. The City of Oak Ridge is now tasked with cleaning up a monumental mess of our own making. Sadly, the only solutions presented thus far add to YOUR burden and have been hastily pushed forward.
I will not make an $18 million decision under these circumstances. I will, however, acknowledge the need to continue moving forward to avoid further penalties from the EPA. Therefore, I offer the following solutions:
Move that council table this item for one week to allow time for council, staff and the public to explore alternative funding solutions that do not further burden our rate payers AND to develop a total cost estimate to the public.
Move that we make a public request offering any firm who is willing to review our remediation plan and provide suggestions of improvement with the understanding that funding for the firm or firms efforts will come from any cost savings they identify. This action could occur simultaneously as the current plan moves forward.
Move that this council commit to develop a plan of action to seek out those who are accountable for the many failures that led to the EPA’s decision to place an administrative order on this city.
SPECIAL CALLED MEETING #2 NOTE: No actions taken involving taxpayer monies
IV. PUBLIC HEARING & FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES – all passed unanimously with Hope abstaining on c & d
a. Ordinance amending land use plan by changing designation of parcels from residential to business. – location of property is in Woodland Terrace East; purpose for new Aldi’s store and office space
b. Ordinance amending zoning for above parcels from low density residential/open space to unified general business with planned unit development overlay and approving preliminary master plan for Woodland Town Center Phase II
c. Ordinance amending land use plan by changing designation of parcels from residential to business at 2095 Oak Ridge Turnpike. – between Chuck’s Car Care and the West Fire Station, undisclosed retailer
d. Ordinance amending zoning for above parcel from residential/open space/reserved/RG1 flood fringe to unified general business and UB-2 flood fringe.