Mayor decides on split votes
It was up to Mayor Ken Hayes to make the final decision not once, but twice, Monday night at the Baldwin City Council meeting.
With Baldwin City Council member Marilyn Pearse absent from the meeting, votes on two motions were 2-2, leaving the tie-breaker decisions to Hayes.
One motion that had the council torn was the decision to vacate a portion of the Fremont Street right of way from the west side of Tauy Creek to 11th Street.
The vacation of the right of way takes away any opportunity for the city to put a road or alley through the section.
It was approved by a 3-2 vote to vacate the section specified with Baldwin City Council members George McCrary and Ted Brecheisen voting against the motion.
The disagreement from council members wasn't disapproval for vacating, just the partial section that was being voted on.
"I would like to see it vacated as a whole instead of a portion," McCrary said.
The whole portion would be the Fremont Street right of way from 10th to 11th streets. But the vacation of the section from Tauy Creek east to 10th Street can't be voted on until there's another public hearing.
McCrary said he wasn't against vacating the right of way, but he would have liked to have held off on the decision until the next meeting.
The motion to accept appointments to boards and committees also had to be decided by Hayes because it was met with some council disagreement.
The vote was 3-2 in favor of appointing Jennifer Hayes to the Library Board, Dave Hill to the Finance Committee, Jeff Simpson to the Economic Development Committee, Gary Hogsett to the Public Works Committee, Jerry Cullumber to the Public Safety Committee and Lee Hanson to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Council members Todd Cohen and Brecheisen voted against the motion for different reasons.
Cohen said he wanted to see a better way of finding appointments for the board and committee openings.
"I would like to see some way to make an attempt to announce openings to the community," he said.
Hayes said he found the appointments by getting two or three recommendations from the boards and committees.
But Cohen said the council shouldn't rely just on board recommendations.
"As the community gets larger and larger," he said, "there may be somebody out there we don't know who would do a good job."
Brecheisen said he questioned the appointment of Hill because he thought only residents of the city should be appointed.
"I have concerns with non-city residents," he said. "I feel decisions should be made by voting members of the city."
The council also approved to increase the portion Baldwin pays for its city employees' health insurance received through Mid America Regional Council Insurance Trust.
In a 3-1 vote, with council member Ken Wagner voting against, the city's share increased from $192 to $217 a month for single coverage and $206 to $253 a month for family coverage. Wagner voted against the motion because it was a late addition to the agenda and didn't feel there was enough time to consider it before voting.
In other action the board:
approved to reappoint Bill Winegar as Baldwin representative on the Douglas County Emergency Management Board.
approved the use of the public sidewalk in front of Espress Yourself for the placing of tables and chairs for customers' use.