Friday, June 4, 2010

City-County Council to Meet Monday, June 7

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council meets this Monday evening. The agenda has a couple of interesting proposals.

Proposal 183 will be introduced and assigned to the Rules Committee, which has a 5 to 3 Republican to Democratic member composition. This Proposal was initiated by the Mayor's Office and is being sponsored by Councillors Lutz, Speedy, Hunter, Scales, Freeman, Rivera, McQuillen, Cardwell, Day and McHenry - Republicans all. If passed, Prop 183 would eliminate the Board of Waterworks and transfer their duties to the Public Works Board. Indy Star reporter, Francesca Jarosz, had a piece in today's paper about this issue. The online title is "GOP aims to hasten sale of utilities", but the subtitle pretty much says it all: "GOP wants to dismantle bipartisan water board". As Ms. Jarosz notes, the Democrats on the Board of Waterworks have been missing from the meetings, leaving the Republican members shy of a quorum. The Ds say they want an independent review of the proposed sale of the water utility to Citizens Energy. The Rs say the Ds are injecting politics with the delay. Since the Public Works Board already voted in favor of the sale, only approval by the City-County Council and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission would remain as hurdles to the Mayor's sale. The Rules committee next meets on June 15 at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building.

Proposal 182 is the rezoning petition 2009-ZON-068, which allows the expansion of the Southside Landfill. This petition was approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission on April 7, 2010. A rezoning decision changes the law on a particular parcel. The MDC does not have that authority, so all rezoning decisions of the MDC move to the City-County Council, which does have the authority to make and change local laws. Usually a stack of rezoning decisions move to the CCC where they usually pass them all without any particular scrutiny. Once in a while one petition is removed from the stack and 'called down' by a Councillor with the request that the full Council conduct its own hearing in the matter. Technically any Councillor may call down any rezoning petition, but the Council practice has been that only the district Councillor where the property is located does so -- successfully. Monday night, one or another at-large Councillor may call down the rezoning for Southside Landfill. Joanne Sanders and Barbara Malone, both at-large Councillors, are rumored names. Bob Cockrum is the district Councillor. The real debate in this matter on Monday night will center on the autonomy of the district Councillors to make this sensitive call in their own districts. I believe it takes a simple majority of the Councillors to agree to 'call down' a petition. If approved, which will be no small task, the next Council meeting would serve as a public hearing on the zoning proposal. If it goes that far, it would take a 2/3 majority of Councillors to overturn the decision of the MDC.

For action Monday night, Proposal 149, which increases fees for the Department of Code Enforcement, will be considered by the full Council. It passed out of the Rules Committee with a 6-1 vote in favor.

The entire agenda is rather short, with only the discussion on calling down Prop 182, the rezoning petition, really looking like it could bring some energy with it. This agenda does, however, portend more energetic debate at the next meeting - June 28.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Raising all those fees 200%, 300% won't get much discussion?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Paul, I'll be surprised if there is any significant discussion. All those from the public who spoke at the committee hearing, spoke in favor.