Acceptance of the three streets was tabled two meetings ago because Councilman Jarvis Elston had not arrived yet and Councilman Ricky Simpson had left the chamber after a discussion of employee bonuses.
Monday, Council President Horace Patterson and Councilman Joe Ballow voted to accept the streets, with Simpson, Elston and Councilman Donnie Miller abstaining.
In an email, City Clerk Beth Cheeks said that passage actually required positive votes from a majority of the councilmen present, meaning that at least three would have to vote in favor of acceptance, even if no one voted against it.
Miller, who said he would have abstained the first time the issue came up because he lives on one of the streets, said he told Cheeks that he intended to go ahead and cast an affirmative vote Monday, but it was too late because the meeting had already adjourned.
Miller said Wednesday that he had double-checked his decision with the state ethics commission. “There’s no personal gain there for myself,” he said. “I didn’t vote for paving the street that I live on, but the street belongs to the whole community, and I thought that it was already a city street to begin with.”
Simpson said he abstained because he had concerns about roads in similar circumstances in his own ward, and that he wanted to be able to address these situations before voting in favor of accepting roads in other wards.
Elston said he also had some concerns.
“I wanted to do some research on my own, and there were some things I wanted to discuss with the city manager before going ahead. I haven’t talked with the manager yet, but I will have before the next meeting.”
Miller was far from alone in believing the city had already taken in these streets several years ago.
According to a memo from City Manager Brian Muenger dated Dec. 3, “The subdivision plat was approved by the planning commission and appropriately recorded in probate, but no record exists of the plat being presented for council review. Numerous references regarding the secondary streets in the subdivision have been found…It appears that after the 1987 approval of the subdivision plat the city simply failed to take appropriate action in presenting the items for council approval. Since that time, the streets within the subdivision have been treated in a manner that constitutes acceptance by default, to include general maintenance and previous resurfacing.”
The memo also documents that the streets are up to the necessary standards.
“It’s a question of misplaced items,” Miller said. “How did we pass two resolutions accepting streets that connect to these streets and no others without accepting these? It just seems like a non-coherence-type situation.”
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org