• Roger Sims

Direction of city a concern for La Cygne council members

Updated: Oct 26

LA CYGNE – Two of the three La Cygne City Council members attending a regular council session on Wednesday, Oct. 21, expressed dissatisfaction at the direction that the city was taking. Both David Brenneman and Danny Curtis said the council should be more in touch with taxpayers.

Their comments came shortly after La Cygne Mayor Debra Wilson opened the meeting by reading from a prepared statement that, in part, outlined her view about the role of the council in the operation of the city.

She said the role of the council is to set good policies, to review existing policies to make sure they meet the needs of the city, and to be responsible as it spends tax dollars collected from citizens.

Wilson noted that the council has had some recent conversations about the role of council members, and she noted that they are “not tasked with the day-to-day operations of our city or the supervision of the staff we empower the city staff to do those tasks.”

The mayor said decisions should not be based on feelings but rather on facts.

“If we make good policy together it should never matter what the citizen’s name is or how long they have lived in the area,” she said. “All people are subject to exactly the same policies and we are working to make sure that what it says in the books is what the council will stand behind so that our staff can confidently open those same books daily and answer questions from the citizens knowing that the books are accurate and truly reflect the considered and expert views of our governing body.”

After asking the three of five council members present if they would like additional training in some area, Wilson asked each to tell those in the room what inspired them to be a council member, which things they liked to do on the council and what conversations or tasks were uncomfortable or unappealing.

For her part, Wilson said experience from her past employment that focused on training and projects helped her to be an effective mayor. She also said that she liked to see people inspired and willing to step up and make a difference.

“If I can inspire that in some way, that makes we very happy,” she said, adding that because she dislikes discord and likes to work toward changes that benefit everyone.

Councilman Thomas Capp, the first to answer, said he was engaged in the work of the council because he was giving back to the community and helping move the community forward.

Brenneman said the reason he was on the council was to represent the taxpayers who had limited incomes.

“We can’t spend so much money that they can’t afford to live here,” he said.

Curtis echoed that sentiment, saying that he wanted to do what’s right for the taxpayers and citizens of La Cygne.

“It seems like most of the time we’re not doing what’s right by them; we’re doing what’s right by the employees that work here,” he said.

He said that he didn’t think that training for the council would help solve that problem.

“Visit your taxpayers more,” Curtis advised the council. “Don’t just run home and hide in your hole and pretend they don’t exist because they do exist. We don’t seem to listen.”

Councilmen Keith Stoker and Jerome Mitzner were not in attendance.

In other business, the council:

* Voted unanimously to hold a hearing during the council meeting on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. to amend the 2022 budget. Council members thought that the budget needed to be amended to reflect the addition of the $400,000 water plant settling pond project and the increase in cost and revenue from more residents using the curbside solid waste pickup service than anticipated last year when the budget was approved.

• Unanimously approved an ordinance that sets the regular council meeting times at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

• Learned IBTS has presented an initial draft of the city’s revised comprehensive plan to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for comments and changes. A joint workshop for the council and planning commission is expected soon with the goal of holding a town hall meeting on the final draft in January.

• Learned that the community Thanksgiving dinner is being planned for Nov. 19 at the La Cygne Christian Church and that donations are being accepted to help pay for it. The La Cygne Chamber of Commerce has donated $500.

• Approved paying engineering firm BG Consultants $5,600 to prepare drawings and a plan for exterior site work for the new fire station. Drawings will include a grading and utility plan for sewer and water.

• Heard a report by Curtis that the display board at Oak Lawn Cemetery was complete. He thanked a list of volunteers for their help on the project including Brenneman, the Peoples Telecommunications crew, Bob Curry, Carol Stainbrook, Judy Wier and the city’s public works crew. Public Works Superintendent Dan Nasalroad is getting quotes on installing a concrete parking area in front of the display board.

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