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Several items addressed at COW meeting

By Staff | Feb 17, 2010

City Council’s first committee of the whole meeting addressed water rates and figuring out how to reduce those rates, but left at least two council members wondering if the session was a waste of time.
Councilmember Eric Grill said the workshops needed to be more focused, possibly on a single topic, as opposed to tackling several through the course of the meeting.
Wednesday’s agenda included discussions on not only water rates and finding a way to reduce the cost of the Kismet water plant, but the 10,000 gallon sewer cap and whether or not to televise the COW meetings.
“For me it wasn’t a real productive meeting,” Grill said. “People are going to walk out of here shaking their heads saying it’s the same thing, only a different night of the week.”
To some extent, Grill appeared correct, as people staggered out of council chambers throughout the two-hour meeting, with one gentleman going as far as to shout at council from the rear of the chambers before making his exit.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell said he thought the meeting’s focus was to get a dialogue going with the citizens. Though council did not allow public comment at this meeting, it might in the future.
“This is just turning into council meetings,” Donnell said.
Council decided it would televise future COW meetings on Cape TV, at the cost of $150 for the first two hours, and $50 for each additional hour.
Councilmember Pete Brandt suggested that while deciding how and when to move forward with the utilities expansion project was needed, council should focus entirely on reducing water rates, the burden of which is falling to current rate payers.
“We do have to study how to proceed going forward with the UEP, but I don’t want to discuss that right now,” he said. “Let’s talk about getting a plan together, let’s stick to the item and take one at a time.”
Council decided the next COW meeting would focus solely on water rates, and how to reduce the burden on current rate payers.
COW meetings will be held the first and third Wednesday of every month in council chambers at City Hall.