Thoughts on Signing of the 18th Amendment

Last Monday Council passed another supplement for the developer of Carriage Trails.  There are two points that could be made if I decided not to sign that legislation.  The first is that I’m still looking for staff to provide more information about the economic input this development provides for the City.  The second would be to address some deceptive information people keep bringing up whenever they want to say the mayor is wrong.
I asked this question two years ago, “why are we providing $22,000 a lot in supplements to build Carriage Trails?”  A year ago the supplements became $15,000 and in the 18th amendment they are $9,000 a lot.  This is progress and one of the reasons I decided not to veto the legislation that provides the supplements.   The other reason is because staff has provided some figures showing that developing these lots brings in more revenue to the city than it takes to pay off the debt for these supplements.  However, the basic question of whether the city is better off having these lots developed at a slower pace where the City collects all the revenue (because there is no debt to pay off) or better off with the faster paced development has barely been addressed.  In order to address this question, some form of estimate on how much the development would slow would need to be made.  I personally think houses would sell at a good rate even without the supplement.  Also, in order to do this analysis right, staff needs to provide an economic evaluation on what business will be attracted because of these new houses and the cost of city services that will need to be provided because we have additional people.
The second objective that could be achieved by not signing the legislation would be to help educate residents about 1) our city government and 2) my options and performance as mayor.  In respect to my ambition to become a member of the US Congress, it was convenient that whenever the old council would be losing an argument, they would run to the newspaper and say the mayor was mean.  This was especially true when the rest of the information that the paper didn’t publish was easily available for people to find.  Now when an article is published, the papers put in references to the old articles and someone new to following the stories will have a much harder time getting the other information.
In order to make my point that relying  on old newspaper coverage can be misleading, I’ve been considering writing about two of the many incidents the papers references.  I think about writing about one incident because I consider it to be a significant win for me and the city.    
This is when I stopped council from creating a 70% to the city / 30% the school district TIF on the Park Towne Apartments and instead forced them into a 100% to the schools TIF (these are the percentages of school money going to the school, not the total amount of TIF money).   The important point to remember about the erroneous information I was censured for is that even though staff made the change I was advocating for on Thursday, staff didn’t inform council (nor did they technically have the authority to make the change).  What is important in this debate is that the information I put in the flier was the official council position when I handed out the fliers over the weekend.  Council didn’t approve the change until the next committee meeting.  


Recent Quotes from HH Courier


“McMasters has been a controversial figure since he was elected in 2013.

In 2014, he was censured by the city council by a 7-1 vote for refusing to retract erroneous information he distributed that accused the council of redirecting money away from Bethel Schools.
McMasters has also refused to sign legislation approved by city council”


The other incident I consider writing about is the one that says the Mayor refused to sign legislation.  The City Charter tells us exactly what happens if the Mayor doesn’t sign legislation.  For those cases when 6 or more of the 9 council members vote for the legislation, it goes into effect immediately.  For those cases where 5 of the 9 members of council vote for the legislation it goes into effect 10 days after the legislation was passed.  This 10 day period is when the mayor could veto the legislation. 
There are two reasons I considered not signing the Carriage Trails ordinances.  I’d like to see staff prepare the right kind of analysis to show it is in the best interest of the city to continue these supplements, perhaps lower future supplements or maybe provide no future supplement at all.   Also, not signing the legislation may have provided an opportunity to educate the residents about our city government and my performance as mayor the last couple of years.  Thanks for reading. 


City Charter:


   Every ordinance or resolution of Council shall, before it goes into effect, be presented to the Mayor for approval except (i) those ordinances or resolutions enacted as a result of the Mayor's casting the deciding vote, and (ii) those enacted by a vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority of Council.  The Mayor, if he approves such ordinance or resolution, shall sign and return it forthwith to the Clerk of Council.  If the Mayor does not approve the ordinance or resolution, he shall within ten days after its passage or adoption return it, with his objections, to the Council, or, if it is not in session, to the next regular meeting of the Council.  The Mayor's objections shall be entered upon the journal of the Council.  The Mayor may approve or disapprove the whole or any item of an ordinance or resolution appropriating money.  If he does not return such ordinance or resolution within the time limited in this Section, it shall take effect in the same manner as if he had signed it, unless the Council, by adjournment, prevents its return.  When the Mayor disapproves an ordinance or resolution, or any part thereof, and returns it with his objections, the Council may, after ten (10) days, reconsider it, and if such ordinance or resolution upon such reconsideration is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members of Council then holding office, it shall take effect as if signed by the Mayor.

For a deeper review of the Park Towne TIF information Council Censored me about, read the article; Mayor Campaigns for School Board - and Wins


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