THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/24/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING SUMMARY (Final Red Light/Speed Camera Vote)

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 24, 2014 City Council Special Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

II. SPECIAL REPORT

Public meeting and presentation on a $3 million Clean Water State Revolving Loan as related to the funding of EQ Basins in compliance with the EPA Administrative Order

III. RESOLUTIONS

a. Resolution authorizing incurring the $3 million loan referenced above Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “Nay”

Note: This debt is tied to the EPA mandate. See tags for the EPA mandate for a complete history on this subject to better understand my position.

b. Resolution authorizing the city either extend or terminate the traffic camera contract with Redflex Motion failed 4-3 with Baughn, Hope, Mosby & Garland voting “Nay” and Beehan, Miller and Hensley voting “Yes.” This vote effectively ends the contract with Redflex for providing speed and redlight cameras.

Note: Though I believe at least two of the four cameras did positively impact motorist behavior (and thus improve pedestrian safety) my vote against them was based on four points. First and foremost, an overwhelming majority of people have expressed that they wanted them removed. Second, feedback from out of town patrons and businesses indicated a very negative impact on our local businesses. Third, I believe we can use the revenues from the cameras to implement equally effective alternative solutions. Fourth, google “Redflex Scandal” to learn about the past and potential future indictments involving this company.

c. Resolution authorizing the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of the OR Turnpike High School/Civic Center Crossing Motion to defer for 4 months passes 5-2 with Hope and Mosby voting “Nay” TSAB tasked to study and return to council with recommendations

IV. FINAL ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES

a. An ordinance amending the FY2014 to allow the Oak Ridge Schools to appropriate $1.75 million from their reserves towards technology spending (Discovery Education/eBooks for middle and elementary schools only) (First vote occurred on March 3, 2014) Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “Nay”

b. An ordinance amending Title 5 “Municipal Finance and Taxation” Chapter 1 changing when property taxes are due from June 1st to July 1st (First vote occurred on March 3, 2014)  Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “Nay”

Note: My vote against changing the date of the property taxes was due to the fact that staff did not conduct a financial impact analysis and could not definitively answer the question of how much the shift would cost. In fact, in subsequent meetings, staff contradicted their initial position. Though the vote was final, discussions are ongoing at this time.

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3 thoughts on “THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/24/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING SUMMARY (Final Red Light/Speed Camera Vote)

  1. I was unaware that Oak Ridge was doing something no other city or county was allowed to do by collecting taxes early. Having read comments by Abbatiello and Watson, I was shocked, (but shouldn’t have been) about how the city of Oak Ridge manages to cheat the citizens by this tax grab. To put things right, each year the deadline payment of taxes should move back two months until equity is reached with every other city and county. Oak Ridge robs us now, there no use being stuck up early.

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