This appears to be the way of our city council, past and present. No one wants to do the heavy lifting. The city faces many financial challenges. Our infrastructure is in poor shape. Our water system, our sewer system, our landfill and our roads. I recently showcased in another letter to the editor a very bad deal, the Larkspur road bridge and extension. I asked Mayor Tomlinson to tell me why I was mistaken, why paying approximately $120,000 an acre for flood plain land was a good idea. I have as yet not received a reply.
I have still been unable to find where Larkspur was passed by city council. The only signatures are Buntz and Tomlinson. Mayor Tomlinson removed Oden Grube from the Durant Industrial Commission, and replaced her with himself, Paul Buntz is also on the Durant Industrial Commission, what a deal! The new city manager won’t return phone calls or answer emails. We need transparency in city government.
We could have made a better deal on the motel tax. It was suggested using ½ the collected moneys collected for promotion and placing ½ in a dedicated account to eventually repave main street, but it wasn’t done. I would hope everyone in city government would be more responsive to the citizens. We also need whistle blower protection for employees with complaints, currently they are fired or asked to resign. At a special meeting of the city Council woman, Oden Grube, was censured for vague complaints from unnamed city employees of workplace harassment, no transcripts of their complaints were given to my knowledge. Questioning city employees about their job and looking for ways to improve city function is well within the role of an active council person. We finally have a council member who does the hard work. No employee who is conscientious and does their job well should consider questions asked about their job as harassment. Sounds like a witch hunt followed by a kangaroo court. Finally, a beginning of an end to go along to get along.
The new city manager took on a daunting taste given the financial state of the city, I wished him well when he first arrived. He has made some progress, switching to a health insurance from self insuring should save money, hiring a city planner will help if he is not micromanaged.
Unfortunately, he feels threatened by transparency and is unresponsive to those who would help. More citizens need to be active, attend council meetings, speak to their council person. It would be wonderful if all of our council members would hold a ward meeting once a month or every other month so people could voice their concerns. I’m looking for a better Durant, join me, get active, get involved.