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 The First Meeting of the New City Council 2010

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The Politico Pen
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PostSubject: The First Meeting of the New City Council 2010   Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:27 pm

The 1st Ortonville City Council meeting of 2010 was attended by the full city council, the new mayor and approximately 10-12 members of the public. Mayor Dinnel was both personal and professional in his conducting of the meeting, and the atmosphere quickly settled into that of an open forum where everyone could be comfortable in stating their opinions. Keep in mind that the council is not the Democrats vs. the Republicans vs. the Independent Party, but elected representatives there to work for all of us.

The meeting was opened up for public discussion on any topic, and the idea was brought up about having workshops for the public (and possibly new city council members) to show us Ė with simple charts and graphs Ė where our money comes from, what areas have what amount of money, and how does this work having money in one account but pulled out and placed into another account? If I think about the population of Ortonville and then try to deduct our tax base from what I know about real estate around here, I am overwhelmed by my financial ignorance. Adding to my confusion and ignorance is how all the foreclosed homes in this town affect our city coffers. Money is finite, and we need to know more about it. I think such workshops would be popular. Broadcast them over the TV, too.

Various requests from committees were made, and Iíll use one from the golf course committee as an example. A bridge needs paint and possibly some repairs, so an amount was presented to the council. Various gasps were heard throughout the room, at which time a council member offered to paint it for half and supply the paint (apparently supplies werenít included in the bid)! Refreshing. Another council member asked why the council wasnít seeing actual bids rather than requests. Good point.


There was a discussion about building permits and fees and a council member asked why we have to comply with Minnesota building codes when Madison doesnít. Mayor Dinnel responded that codes are there to ensure structures are safe and well built.

Comments were brought up about the Trailhead Park project, and the mayor stated his concern isnít just the cost of the project and where is the money coming from, but the cost of the upkeep down the road. A good point for any project. I see that as a fiscally responsible attitude.

The city administrator brought up the matter of two bids from two companies to evaluate (what does that mean?) the jobs at city hall. One bid was for $3,250.00 plus (unknown) expenses; the other for $1,650.00 plus (unknown) expenses. A member of the public then asked why the city doesnít utilize the hospitalís human resources department since it is city-owned, or ask other towns what they do rather than spend thousands of dollars.

When discussing the hiring of a city attorney, one council member thought the person should live and work full-time in Ortonville. A member of the public citizenry thought was unfair in that even our city administrator doesnít live here, and no one can be told they have to work full-time!

Although this is meant to be a report of the council meeting, it is painfully difficult to keep from editorializing. We are, by demographics, an intimate community where, if you donít know everyone, youíll probably recognize names or faces. That demands that we pay close, personal attention to the representation and actions of the mayor and city council we have elected to represent us.

Come to the meetings! Use the forum website! Be an activist!


Last edited by The Politico Pen on Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Politico Pen
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PostSubject: Who is our mayor, again?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:52 pm

I was checking out the updated e-mail addresses of our new city council and mayor. It appears David Lang is our new mayor.
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Zorro
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PostSubject: Re: The First Meeting of the New City Council 2010   Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:04 am

Politico Pen
I enjoyed reading your account of the Council meeting. You did a great job of capturing the meaningful facts and observations. As for "editorializing," I think you are flexing new muscles and learning how to provide social commentary and discussion by presenting facts with intelligent observation. Without that kind of approach to events, our founding fathers would never have been able to develop the ideas that eventually helped them form our republic.
There are many ways that the "professional" media can editorialize -- it's become an art form to steer the casual or uninvolved listener to a biased understanding of an incident. The vision that one person can create "the real story" by "objective reporting" is not possible. But many people, sharing their observations and discussing them create "the real STORIES" and provide a more realistic appraisal...and people also learn in the process.
Our "objective" media have led us to polarization and oversimplification of events, ideas and "the truth." We must get back to social engagement instead of public spoonfeeding. You are off to a GREAT start at contributing to the communities represented on this forum. THANK YOU!
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