City Council Update, August 14, 2023

City Council Update, August 14, 2023

At our meeting on Monday, Council postponed the vote on the pet sales ordinance, received Parking Study recommendations, approved the Oxford Park EV chargers, and approved the Mayor’s Academy on Services and Budget, among other items.

A motion was passed to postpone consideration of the retail pet sale ordinance on a 5-1 vote. (I voted against waiting. Baker was absent).

Puppygram waited until two business days before the final vote to begin seriously engaging in the legislative process. Because of Puppygram's threat of litigation if we proceeded, the city attorney advised we wait and re-evaluate.

To date, Puppygram continues to say their entire operation is humane but has yet to be transparent and provide any meaningful information on the sourcing of their animals that could help prove their claim.

The work of the Parking Study Steering Committee is complete. A presentation on the recommendations was given. The recommendations include keeping the overnight parking ban and keeping parking free, but reducing some parking requirements. At this stage, they are only recommendations, and further consideration and public input will be made as we continue the process of reviewing our zoning ordinances.

After being tabled at the last meeting, more information on the electric vehicle (EV) chargers for Oxford Park was provided. These are the chargers that were installed without going through the correct appropriations process. The installer also put them in the wrong location.

The city has already incurred all of the costs. If we sold the chargers it would be at a loss and is only a small portion of the overall bill. Completing the charger installation was approved. Now we can start gathering revenue to offset the costs.

Council formed the "Mayor’s Academy on Services and Budget" and appointed 16 individuals to serve. In light of the failure of the May 2023 millage proposal, this committee was formed with two purposes in mind. The first is to educate these individuals on city operations and the fiscal challenges each department faces. The second is to seek recommendations on possible changes the city could make in the face of these challenges. These meetings will be open to the public and the audio recordings published.

Other items that were approved include:

  • allowing a law office at 2790 Coolidge (first-floor office requires special permission in our downtown district),
  • a one-year janitorial services contract, ending our current contract early to achieve cost savings,
  • a one-year contract for Google Workspace services at a 40% savings,
  • the filing of two vacancies on the Zoning Board of Appeals,
  • a cost-sharing agreement for a Safe Streets and Roads For All grant, and
  • joining a national opioid settlement.

The meeting packet.