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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Lynchburg City Council: Should Clean Up Their Mess

Lynchburg City council passes new ordinance that takes place immediately. It is now a fifty dollar fine if you don't clean up after your dog. This ordinance took center stage at the public session of City Council. Sure to a be a boon for all the pet stores in our area, it may prove to be an irritation to pet owners. Non pet owners will be gratified, now if they can only keep those dogs from barking.

In secret session, the city council took up a resolution to ask Mayor Carl Hutcherson to leave gracefully. The Mayor is faced with a seven count federal indictment. Some on City council thought it would be best for City's reputation that the Mayor take a powder. The Mayor however stands firm, he will stick it out and finish his term.

Mayor Carl Hutcherson has made it clear he is innocent and doesn't think he will be found guilty. If he did leave City council, we are sure his lawyers would fear that would be one little battle lost in defending his innocence. Yet many on City council agree that he should leave, no one stood up to second the motion. A testament to the courage to support your convictions, that is lacking on City council.

Regardless, the mechanism for removal of a standing Mayor in Lynchburg is not there. They can only politely ask. And perhaps pass a pooper scooper law so someone can clean up a mess.

Two members of City Council did stand up with the courage of their convictions:

Jeff Helgeson presented the resolution: "Be it resolved that this council urges Carl B. Hutcherson, Jr. to step down immediately as mayor and this council urges Carl B. Hutcherson, Jr. to resign his seat as councilmember at large."

No one, would second the motion.

Bert Dodson said, "I think the uh, discussion should have been in open session." ... "Because I think it's the people's business. We have something to say, we should say it in public."

Jeff Helgeson should be applauded for the resolution that only others on City council will only mumble on their support.

And, Bert Dodson should be commended on pointing out, the peoples business should be done in public. Its time to end the non-public work sessions and meeting in secret. Our local government should be open and responsive to the public. They are not entrusted with National Security and there is no reason why our local government should not be open to the public. The era of big boys and girl club should end.

In a related story presented by the The News and Advance, it is being recommended that property tax assessments should be done yearly instead of biannually. The reasoning behind this is that this will be less of impact on the citizens when they see their property taxes jump.

From the News and Advance:

"But a switch to annual assessments would mean additional costs."

"The assessor’s office would have to cram 24 months of work into 12 months, Daniels said. That would require new staff and vehicles at a cost of roughly $115,000, according to the report."

Interestingly, the obvious solution would be to pro rate an increase based on past history of real estate increases. (Cost to the city $ 0). Of course, this may be too easy of a concept for our city to grasp. The prime mandate of our City council should be to reduce the cost of local government, and provide better services for its citizens.

Well, at least thank God for the pooper scooper law to keep those pet owning citizens in line. Now, if we could only mandate a law that the City council clean up their own messes after them.

Sources: The News and Advance,WSET


At 5:57 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

What's interesting about this scooper law is that it is practically a civil matter. The police have said they will not enoforce it, so it is up to the properrty owner to collect the evidence and seek a warrant from a magistrate.

A law with no teeth it would seem.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for the comment Jeff. You are completely right about this. The police have no intention of enforcing the law. Things I think that the city council should be addressing is the problem with real crime, like the increase of store robberies.

Florida has dramatically decreased store robberies by requiring 2 employees be on duty at night, and mandating better outside lighting. Here is a place city council could make a difference, but how often are they addressing increasing crime in Lynchburg? hmmm, never...

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Well, they City Council has just demonstrated that they don't take a hard line on criminals....

Can I get a second?

At 9:29 AM, Blogger B O B said...

I am willing to give the Mayor his day in court before I make a judgement if he is guilty or not, but it certainly doesn't look good for him.

And I do second your motion if it would be better that he left City Council.


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