Well, the second City Council meeting of 2020 matched the first one as far as how it ended, abruptly. The meeting ran long again, not finishing the complete agenda and adjourning around 10:30 pm.
Open Public Comment
Several people got up in front of the council to talk about the Dodge County Humane Society (DCHS), both in favor and in opposition to how this organization is being run. I have had the opportunity to talk with several citizens about how actions were taken by DCHS in the past and with our Police Chief and am beginning to wonder if there needs to be an investigation on practices and policies in how this organization conducts its duties in fulfilling the contract it has with the City of Fremont. I believe the time has come to address these concerns and will be working with other councilmembers in this review process.
Because the last meeting was cut short by a motion to Adjourn, Councilmember Jacobus wanted the remaining items from the previous meeting to be moved to the start of this meeting. So, several motions were approved in rearranging the evening’s agenda items.
#35) City Council Meeting Agenda Policy. After many months of work by Councilmember Yerger, working with the city staff and administration, an agreement was presented to the council for adoption. The jest of these changes was to make sure city staff had ample time to prepare the agenda and City Council had input on its own agenda. Several time restraints were put into place to ensure enough time for city staff to have to prepare agenda and make it public. The motion passed 5-3.
#29) Ordinance 5525 pertaining to the sale and conveyance of real estate to Travis J. Bird and Molly J. Bird. The city will be selling Lot 1, approximately 1.45 acres of the Technology Park to the Birds for $47,048.00. It seems pretty simple right? But if you read the details of the purchase agreement it gets complicated. The city received a grant, way back in 2012, to help develop the Technology Park, but a stipulation was put on that grant that 32 new ‘technology jobs’ needed to be created within a time frame or the grant would have to be given back. Over time, the city negotiated that down to just ‘jobs’ and have had the time frame extended, now to 2022. So the purchase agreement states that the city will give back $17,678.00 to the Birds if the city meets the required job creation. Nowhere in the purchase agreement did any job creation need to happen to receive this payback. The council had issues with this and asked for these stipulations to be added to the Purchase Agreement and bring it back before the council for another vote.
At no time did the city administration bring the extension of this grant to the council’s attention. I would have thought that the city was on the hook for over $900k and that the state extended the grant, that the council would have been notified.
#37) Councilmember Jacobus request for an investigation of Conflict of Interest by the mayor. The purpose of this motion was to bring this topic to the council for discussion. Councilmember Bechtel took the floor and exhibited, what can only be stated as an outburst, against Councilmember Jacobus. This was purely an off-topic subject and should have never been able to continue, but it did. His delivery was a blatant attack on a sitting councilmember and became boisterous and disruptive. The mayor, as the presiding officer over this public meeting, has a responsibility to keep Roberts’s Rules of Conduct in place and he failed. The City Attorney could have also called for this disruption to stop, as he has done in the past, and chose not to intervene.
With several agenda items still left to address, Matt Bechtel stood up and declared he was leaving. There was a motion to adjourn and a second and the vote was taken with a 4-4 tie. The mayor cast the deciding vote to adjourn, ending the meeting at 10:50 pm. The agenda items that we did not get to will be added to our next City Council meeting.