Citizens for a Better Norwood 3

Friday, March 9, 2007

Bessie’s COW report for February

Tuesday night’s meeting began with discussion about both a financial recovery plan and financial planning, including the city’s prospects for hiring a budget analyst to assist with all things financial. Mayor Williams said he’d met with Software Solutions, Inc., and once he gets their proposal, more will be known about the capabilities of their financial tracking software. Depending on what those are, he may favor applying the funding for the part time budget analyst position to any additional costs that may be incurred with the new software. Both Mr. Moore and Mr. Sanker strongly advocated hiring a budget analyst because of the long term benefits to the city.

Regarding a levy for the August ballot, Mr. Moore’s feeling, at this point, is a full 8-mill renewal won’t be necessary for daily operations, although more financial information is needed to accurately assess the city’s needs. As proof of some of the cost reductions put in place, he quickly ticked off 7 positions that have either been eliminated or not replaced during the last 5-6 years. And speaking of reduced costs, the city, specifically Mr. Geers, won a $93,000 reduction in insurance costs by playing hardball with the carrier! Add that to the $50,000 saved on Worker’s Comp. premiums reported in “Ward One Update,” and we’re talking a nice, tidy sum.

One of these days we may start receiving a city newsletter mailed with our quarterly water bills. It will tell us seasonal information like leaf-pickup schedules, pool hours, garbage collection days, etc. Everyone agreed posting this kind of information on cable and the city’s website is insufficient because it just doesn’t reach all residents.

Mr. Moore kicked off a lengthy discussion about the pro’s and con’s of instituting standards for exterior home renovations, particularly front porch replacements. A caller to his cable show brought up the fact that homeowners who use pressed wood for replacement porches create an inappropriate “deck effect” on the front of their houses. Following talk about the possibility of designating certain zones historical, the attendant higher expense homeowners would incur complying with strict exterior regulations, and the need to meet with homeowners in these areas, like the Presidential area, Mr. Mumper said he would send a letter to our building code expert Dan Blye seeking his input.

Now for the topic that really really had me going for a few minutes: red light cameras. If you’re me, and thank the Lord every day you aren’t, you’re immediately wondering if they’re talking in shorthand, leaving something out, something like the word “district.” But that‘s crazy, I told myself. Norwood doesn’t have an area like that, at least, not that I’ve ever heard of. But if I’m wrong and it does or is starting to, well, yes, let‘s get some cameras in there pronto! Then Mr. Sanker remarked, “We’re waiting for preliminary information for the Auditor of State to see if they’re worth implementing.” Worth implementing? “Get the d#%# cameras! This is a crisis!!” I screamed at him. Then I forced myself to calm down and think about this a little further. Red light cameras. Maybe the cameras are red and light weight. Or maybe they have red lights on them. Or…or maybe, just maybe, they left a different word out. Red light, red light, what word other than “district” goes with red light that you’d want cameras for? Well, Holy COW and duh, I finally got it, but was Mr. Mumper right to suggest Mr. Sanker is an expert on red traffic light cameras just because he may have had his picture taken a time or two in the past?