Clarksville, TN – The city council met in its usual first of the month regular session. I’ll give the brief version tonight due to the late hour and send more details later.
Barge Point Rezoning (Ordinance 14)
The Barge Point rezoning was postponed until next month in a 6-yes & 5-no vote. I voted yes due to all the questions presented.
Gateway Lane – Haynes Street Rezoning (Behind Publix)
This passed last month (changed a house from Residential to Office zoning), but the people in the area didn’t show up at the council meeting to show their unhappiness with this choice. As I have told Ward 10 Residents many times, if you don’t help your councilman in a rezoning issue, then you may not like the result. The people did show this time and the rezoning request was defeated on its second vote. It was a 4-yes & 7-no vote. I voted no again.
East –West Corridor
This lost in a final vote of 5-yes & 6-no vote. The mayor voted no. The mayor stated she recognized the need but is concerned about being sued and we might not get money to do the job in the next 25 years. All I have to say is if we, as a city government are too scared to make a decision based on solid data and to fight for any money that does come to our state, then we have a major leadership problem. Remember, we spent $100,000 dollars on two studies (four years apart) that state we need this road and we spent another couple of hundred thousand to have community residents say we need this road in the 2030 Plan.
Traffic is one of the major issues we hear about all the time and we have the data pointing out we are heading to a major transportation meltdown if we don’t get this road built by 2030/2035. So much for the proactive approach to city problems.
This resolution started out last week with the city requesting to borrow $3.2 million. I did some research on this request and could not make the numbers jive from the budget. I asked questions this past week and turns out I was right and the amount for borrowing was lowered to $3 million. About $2.5 million of this borrowed money is to pay for operating equipment we didn’t have the money for in the budget. However, in my last Finance Committee meeting we were advised that the city MAY see a $2 million windfall from the state due to better tax collections.
I made a motion that we should wait 60 days and see if this money materialized and save borrowing a couple of million. The Finance Director was not in favor of this because the budget the city passed (refer to my recounts of the budget battle where I said we need to make some cuts and see if the financial situation improved later) didn’t allow much slack. My motion lost in a 6-6 tie. The mayor voted against the delay.
The final resolution passed in a 6-yes & 5-no vote. I had voted yes, but changed my mind the more I thought about it. The mayor and those that voted for the budget knew they were on financial thin ice and, in my opinion, it appears this is an effort to build a financial pad so their budget decisions don’t come back to bite them. We borrow money, then we get more from the state and suddenly we have money to spend. I asked for a revote and lost that request by a 6-6 tie. The mayor voted against it. So the initial vote stood.
However, there are no prepayment penalties on the borrowed money so when the money comes in and we know the official amount I will try and require early payment with the additional money we get.
Editor’s Note: This article contains the view points of Councilman Bill Summers and may not represent the views of the rest of the City Council, the City of Clarksville or ClarksvilleOnline.