Council Committee Diary: September 2022

Most council agenda items originate in one of council’s standing or ad hoc committees. You can learn more about council committees here and find meeting times and agendas here.

Following is an overview of council committee work from September:

  • Finance Committee: Identified funding for an engineer’s proposal to complete a Streetscape Design Plan, declined to waive fees for use of the downtown sound system to play Christmas music throughout the 2022 holiday season, and identified funds for asbestos abatement of a derelict property on River Street.
  • Municipal Properties: Discussed various matters concerning the Darden House (stained glass repair, leases for office tenants, use by outside parties for events) and the contract for the downtown flowers program. The committee also heard and declined to recommend council approval of a request for a utilities easement from the directors of the Mountain State Forest Festival. This easement would have allowed installation of an electric service pole next to the city-owned parking lot near Railroad Avenue and Third Street for use by a private company during the festival.
  • Organizational Audit Committee (ad hoc): (Formed to identify opportunities to further strengthen the city’s organizational structure.) Worked on changes to the job descriptions of the operations assistant and the operations administrative assistant.
  • Personnel Committee: Considered possible structures for a proposed human resources position, changes to method of reimbursement for employee travel, an employee benefits proposal, and what to do about anticipated increases in health insurance premiums during the 2024 fiscal year (which begins July 1, 2023).
  • Planning Commission: Worked on refining definitions in the zoning code of various types of events, discussed topics for a zoning FAQ, and reviewed the process of enforcing and administering the new zoning code.
  • Public Safety Committee: Heard reports from public safety officials.
  • Rules & Ordinances Committee: Discussed nuisance dogs, free-roaming cats, and zoning code enforcement, fees, and fines.
  • Sanitary Board: Took various personnel actions related to promotions, discussed an engineer’s needs assessment for the sewer and water systems, considered a contract for IT support, worked on policies for installation of check valves and stormwater taps, discussed next steps for the foam-filled sewer line under Randolph Avenue between Sycamore Street and Park Street (location approximate), and took final actions related to the conclusion of Bear Contracting’s work on Lavalette Avenue under warranty from last summer’s sewer/stormwater separation project.
  • Special Hiring Committee (ad hoc): (Formed to search for a new operations manager.) After interviewing six candidates, the committee made an offer to its top choice. The candidate then declined the offer, and the search process must be started over. (The job listing is here.)
  • Water Board: Considered contracts for electrical  and IT support, discussed Worth Avenue line break, worked on policy for water service tap fees.
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