Gov't

Council Districts, Term Limits to Be Studied

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By Dave Freneaux

     In the final City Council meeting of 2010, Mayor Watts paved the way to discuss how Central elects Council Members.  The Council is currently elected "at large", meaning that every voter in Central votes for their top five candidates and the top five vote-getters are seated as Council Members.  During the City elections earlier this year, discussion and debate arose as to whether Central should be divided into Districts, like the School Board, with voters in each District voting only for candidates from their district.

    The argument FOR districts is that each area of the City has unique local concerns and a Council member living in that district and elected by the voters from that area would better represent the voters of that district.  The argument AGAINST districts is that Council Members should work in the best interests of the City as a whole, regardless of where they live, and that Districting could lead to political arguments over what services, such as road overlays, to provide to what districts.  Council Member Messina has been asked to chair this committee, which is to look into Districts, Divisions, and Term Limits.  Mayor Watts also has appointed Council Member LoBue to chair a committee to investigate the costs of hiring a full time attorney to serve as Central's City Attorney.  Each of these committees will consist of seven appointed members, one appointed by each Council Member and two by the Mayor.

   In other business the Council voted unanimously to waive attorney-client privilege and release the majority of the legal billing detail from recent montly bills of the City Attorney.  The Council unanimously voted to redact certain privileged information contained in the billing records which may have a bearing on future litigation.  The Council approved an additional $25,000 to complete the drainage improvements needed for the Bridlewood/Beaver Bayou Drainage Improvements.  The City Council will meet again on January 11, 2011.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Mannino

    December 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    On the subject of districts, if the negatives outweigh the positives, then the whole system of government in the US is flawed because that is by far the dominant model. And lets not use the argument that we, a new City, are setting the new standard like we tried with City services. When nobody else is doing something, the majority of the time its because its been tried and it doesnt work. At large elections are rare these days for the simple reason that when you have the population of a given city all concentrated in a small area,and the majority of the candidates get elected from that area, the rest of the City is ignored or neglected. This came up in the election when many citizens in Indian Mound complained about never seeing any councilmen in their area and the lack of attention on issues they brought up. If someone from that area is on the Council with an equal voice and a constituency to answer to, that wont happen.

  2. dbarrow225

    December 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Dave: Just a note. The $25,000 for additional improvements to the Bridlewood drainage project was introduced at this council meeting and scheduled for acceptance at the Jan. 11 council meeting. This additional work involves clearing an additional 2400 feet of Beaver Bayou. Additionally, city crews have been clearing the smaller ditches in the back of Crystal Place subdivision, which feeds into this channel, thereby improving drainage for Crystal Place subdivision as well.

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