We picked up where we left off from our previous meeting. We had 11 agenda items to take care of before we could get on with the new. This meeting ran long again and we left several items for the next meeting. Because of this pattern, I and a couple of other council members have started working on an Ordinance to help with this issue. This prospective Ordinance will set the new start time of City Council meetings to 6:00 pm and have an automatic adjournment at 10:00 pm, with all unfinished business going to the next scheduled meeting. This model is used in other towns and for right now, I believe the Fremont City Council could benefit by following it.
#12) Resolution 2020-023 Authorizing architectural work to begin on the new Airport Terminal. I have done an extreme amount of research on this topic over the last couple of weeks, about how cities and towns finance airport improvements. The apron work that will be starting soon was financed 90% by the F.A.A. The city had to pick up the remaining 10%. The real question is the terminal. The F.A.A. doesn’t pay for terminals. From my findings, most airports are self-sufficient and will charge services to help with improvements and maintenance. This is where I have an issue. For our town to take $2.3 million dollars out of the city coffers and spend it on something that a very few will ever use is hard for me to support. Well, it appears I was alone in that thinking because the vote was 6 in favor and 1 not in favor – mine being the only opposing vote.
I spoke with a lot of people over these last couple of weeks, put a Facebook post out to get feedback, and what I found was that people were overwhelmingly against spending this kind of money on this project. Many were in favor of rehabbing the old building but stopped there in spending more money on a new terminal building. This is a great example of one of my campaign platforms promises. We need to focus on what matters most to the people of Fremont. I agree that there is a need to improve our city airport, but there are so many other projects that could use our attention right now. We need to start thinking outside the box and find other creative ways to finance a project of this magnitude so these funds can be used to help a bigger group of people.
#22 & #29) Mayoral appointments. The mayor had two committee appointments brought forth before the council. The first was for a vacancy on the Library Board. Traditionally, the mayor takes recommendations from the Library Board and then makes a choice based on the options suggested. However, last night the mayor chose someone that was not recommended by the board and simply by-passed their recommendation. The council voted against the mayor’s selection. The second appointment was for a vacancy on the Planning Commission. The mayor’s selection was actually supposed to be voted on the last meeting and was continued to this meeting because the council wanted to give the public enough notice of the vacancy. The extra time didn’t change the mayor’s decision and asked for an up or down vote on his recommendation. Again, the council voted against the mayor’s selection. The mayor missed a great opportunity to help diversify the Planning Commission a little but choose to stick with his original selection. I said it last meeting publically and I will say it again here, we need more diversity within our city committees.
#25) Resolution 2020-032 Accepting and awarding the contract to HDR for new substation design work. Wholestone Foods approached the city last fall about their future expansion plans and their need for more megawatts in the future. Our City Director of Engineer did a great job explaining this need to the council. The cost of this design work will be reimbursed by Wholestone. The expected cost for this project was quoted at somewhere between 3 and 5 million.
#35) Resolution 2020-037 Accept proposed contract for new Splash Pad in John C Fremont Park. I want to give a shoutout to our Parks Department for the work they did in investigating and bringing this project to completion by hopefully mid-June. The location within the park was limited because of so much pipe debris buried within the park grounds. It may not be the best location because of that, but it’s acceptable.