Coatesville City Council compiles lengthy to-do list

 Members pledge to review multiple issues on or before end of March

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

City Manager Kirby Hudson (left) chats with Police Chief Jack Laufer after Laufer's first City Council meeting since his swearing-in.

City Manager Kirby Hudson (left) chats with Police Chief Jack Laufer after Laufer’s first City Council meeting since his swearing-in on Jan. 14.

Members of Coatesville City Council may have created their own version of March Madness at Monday night’s meeting.

With a sparse audience of eight people,  five council members  – City Councilmen Ed Simpson and Jarrell Brazzle were unable to attend  –  compiled a lengthy to-do list of items with March deadlines.

One of the most pressing involves the creation of a Budget Review Committee, an advisory panel intended “to make sure spending is held on track,” explained Council President David C. Collins. The committee should be up and running by March 1 if City Council wants it to oversee the first quarter, which ends March 31, said Finance Director John Marcarelli.

City solicitor John Carnes, City Manager Kirby Hudson, and Councilwoman Ingrid Jones listen during a presentation at Monday night's City Council meeting.

City solicitor John Carnes, City Manager Kirby Hudson, and Councilwoman Ingrid Jones listen during a presentation at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Although the majority of council members sought city residency as a requirement to serve on the committee, they backed off that provision slightly when City Manager Kirby Hudson explained how many present committees have vacancies. “We’ve got some dead wood,” Hudson said, stressing the need for a policy on attendance.

Hudson said some committee members never show up but don’t want to be removed, creating a frustrating situation. Marie Hess, who heads the Park and Recreation Commission, agreed. She said only four of her seven-member group participates. She said she’s proud of the commission’s accomplishments but can’t help but wonder how much more it could have done at full strength.

Council members seemed to agree that city residents would be given priority for committee assignments; however, if vacancies went unfilled, people outside the city limits interested in serving would be considered.  They also pledged to create a board and commission attendance policy to facilitate the removal of those who do not contribute.

Other pending issues with deadlines on or before March 31 include modifying the media policy to specify who is authorized to speak to the press on city issues; reviewing the city’s awards policy for recognizing outstanding citizen achievements; compiling a list of bill payments that can be preapproved to avoid the risk of late fees; and establishing a set of realistic performance benchmarks for the staff.

One resident’s earlier request to lower the speed limit on South Eighth Avenue to 15 miles per hour prompted questions from council members. They requested more information, such as the cost of doing a traffic study and input from other residents.

Hudson said he is working with the city’s five department heads and Lincoln University to craft an internship opportunity for Lincoln students.  “Everyone is excited about the opportunity,” he said.

 

 

 

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