Monday, March 31, 2014

A Brand New Day In Belle Isle

Even before the swearing in of Belle Isle's two new City Council members this coming Tuesday, our City is already seeing some significant changes.

Along with huge resident attendance, last Wednesday's workshop meeting also brought a new style to our City's workshops. In the past, typical workshop meetings in Belle Isle involved city officials huddled around a table with residents barely able to hear and unable to access to the documents being discussed by the council. Combined with the fact that residents were not permitted to speak at workshop meetings, this meant that residents usually left workshop meetings with a lot of confusion and unanswered questions.

But what used to be a closed workshop process was suddenly opened last Friday. The many residents in attendance were invited to actively participate in the workshop process by asking questions and offering ideas. And despite this 180 degree shift in meeting procedure, the meeting was a huge success. It was productive, civil, and lasted a reasonable length of time while still allowing residents to make real contributions.

This change in workshop meeting procedure isn't the only change our City has seen over the past week. Minutes from Wednesday's workshop meeting were published for Council approval by the end of the week (they can be found attached to the April 1 meeting agenda). Whereas minutes were never previously made available before approval by council, which often happened 2-3 months after the original meeting, Wednesday's minutes were made available by the City in unofficial form within days of the meeting. This will surely be seen as a welcome change to the many residents who have tried to find information about a meeting, only to learn that minutes would not be posted for weeks or months.

And those changes are just the beginning. The Wednesday workshop meeting resulted in Lydia Pisano and Harvey Readey addung a number of items to the April 1 meeting agenda, including:

  • Moving city council meetings to a later time
  • Reviewing Belle Isle meeting procedure, including moving citizen comments to the beginning of the meeting and allowing for response and discussion by council
  • Changing the Belle Isle permitting process
  • Tree permitting and fees
  • City council expenditures
  • City grants for each district as discussed by Council last October
  • Permanent sign out front of City Hall for announcement of meetings and other important information
  • Dumpster monopoly and overpricing by Republic
  • Changing in the process when City Commissioners resign to require a general election unless there is less than six months remaining in the outgoing Commissioner's term
  • Regular presentation of the monthly finance reports promised to Council when they approved new financial software purchased by the City last year

Along with these topics brought up for discussion by Commissioners Readey and Pisano, our City Council will also be discussing the 2013 Belle Isle Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) at the upcoming Tuesday meeting. This report raises a number of questions about our City's accounting procedures as well as Belle Isle's present financial state. Hopefully, these questions will be addressed on Tuesday. You can view a copy of the 2013 CAFR, as well as the March 26 meeting minutes and April 1 meeting agenda, by clicking the links below:

2013 Comprehensive Annual Finance Report

April 1, 2014 Meeting Agenda + March 26, 2014 Workshop Meeting Minutes


After the swearing in of our new City Commissioners, presentation of the 2013 CAFR, as well as the numerous other topics up for discussion by Council, the Tuesday meeting will likely run a bit longer than usual. Those planning to attend the "Meet Your New Commissioners" event at the Belle Isle Bayou should be aware that the Commissioners, as well as many attendees, may arrive a bit later than 8:00 p.m. if the meeting runs late. But at least four Commissioners will be attending the event, so this will be a great opportunity to get to know your elected officials in a comfortable setting.

I hope to see you all at the City Council meeting this Tuesday, April 1 at 5:30 p.m. and then afterward at the Belle Isle Bayou!

21 comments:

  1. This is welcome (and long overdue) news. It's about time the residents along with our 2 newly elected officials sent the message to the City Council that I routinely delivered to my employees - do your job well and you may keep it!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you BI Sun for being a big part of this change!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting that our two new council members were the only Belle Isle representatives at our Sunrail station opening on Sunday along with the Edgewwood mayor & other officials.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The new representatives were not the only Belle Isle reps there. Lydia was there as well. It is a shame she was overlooked. Let's get the information out there correctly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As usual the Bell Isle Sun is incorrect. Yes, let's get the information correct. I saw Commissioner Shuck there also. I asked him why he was not recognized with the 2 other people for Belle Isle (the two people on stage are NOT commissoners yet). He told me that he was not invited to participate in an official capicaty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are two people on stage that are not commissioners yet. .. And other commissioners are ignored?

      Delete
    2. Agree...let's get the information correct: If you reread the Belle Isle Sun article, there is no mention of the County's Sunrail event. That information is given by readers.

      Delete
    3. Anyone know why Belle Isle commissioners were ignored at the sun rail event?

      Delete
  6. Yea, change the meeting times so working people can attend. That's a great idea

    ReplyDelete
  7. It was nice to see our two new elected officials there on Sunday. Our city is thirsty for honesty, something we haven't had much of in the past. Except for Harvey that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not true Lydia has also been honest as well as others.

      Delete
    2. Sure is easy to blanketly accuse people of being dishonest when the person posting doesn't cite a single example of a particular person being 'dishonest'! These people use a great deal of their own time to serve the city (and you) with no pay. What can they gain by being dishonest?
      Has the poster done anything to serve the city other than accuse those who do of being dishonest?
      Please cite some instances of dishonesty by one of your elected officials.

      Delete
    3. The poster probably doesn't even live in Belle Isle. No one has cited instances of dishonesty, because they can't.

      Delete
    4. The Mayor gets paid, the manager gets paid and I believe their secretary gets paid?????

      Delete
  8. It doesn't look like the meeting ran over today. I rode by City Hall at 19:00 today the place was cleared out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Of course Lydia is now trying to be miss nice to everyone...she sees the writing on the wall

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lydia has always been nice to everyone.. This shit is getting old folks.. Sarah Goodwin needs to quit trying to brainwash folks in her HOA..

    ReplyDelete
  11. You all need to stop bashing the current commisioners, because the 2 new commisioners will never get anything approved if they don't work with the current commisioners on agenda items.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I begged the Prez of our Conway HOA to not join Belle Isle because of all the crap written above! Now we are stuck???

    ReplyDelete
  13. I happen to live in Lake Conway East and know for a fact that Sarah Goodwin watches out for our community AND yours! And, no, I did not vote for her and do not agree with everything she works hard to get accomplished for us.. She goes to County and State meetings to stay up to date and gets grants to help keep our community beautiful! I say "thanks" to Mrs. Goodwin!

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.