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Danville City Council LIVE! (6/17/2014)

“SouthsideCentral was LIVE! at Danville City Hall for tonight’s Danville City Council meeting. Click below for the full details.

The meeting starts at 7:00 PM, but we’ll probably start our coverage earlier.

6:30 PM – Mayor Sherman Saunders is out tonight. Vice Mayor Gary Miller will be in the big chair.

Duke Energy is here tonight to give a coal ash spill update.

It’s Adam Tomer’s last meeting on City Council. We’re going to miss him.

Dawn Witter will be appointed to the Utility Commission tonight.

7:00 PM – Let’s get it started.

Davis Montgomery, regional director for Duke Energy, makes his presentation. 1200 cubic yards of material have been pulled out of the river.

Now going over the agreements signed with EPA.

I notice that the city’s hired gun attorney for the coal ash spill is watching this speech intently. Council had a closed session meeting with this guy before the main session.

DSCN2321I don’t think he wanted to be noticed.

7:10 PM – The “Ban the Box” initiative has made it to council and should be passed tonight. Questions from council to Duke Energy. Fred Shanks and Gary Miller ask a few questions. Minutes are approved.

7:15 PM – Public hearing about a “transitional living shelter” at 341 Holbrook St. This was tabled last year. Spokeswoman says she has met all requests from Council. John Gilstrap asks a question about support from Walmart. Spokeswoman Bennett gets a little agitated. This is a domestic violence shelter?

7:20 PM – “Grandma’s House” is the name of the proposed shelter. This lady is relatively combative when questioned by Council. It’s entertaining but not good for business.

“We’re not going to be a shelter, we’re going to be a home.”

Buddy Rawley questions the proposed budget, asking is she’s really got that money. Tough questioning from council tonight. Rawley knows his finances.

The neighbor from across the street is speaking in opposition. She’s talking about the current crime rate and wanting families to live in the neighborhood.

7:30 PM – Another neighborhood resident speaks against this Special Use Permit. I’m reading the faces and body language of Council and this is looking like a NO vote for this domestic violence shelter.

No motion made from Council. Shanks makes motion to reject the permit. Rejection is imminent. John Gilstrap, Alonzo Jones and Adam Tomer speak. Rejected 8-0.

7:40 PM – Electric rate increase time. Gilstrap starts the discussion. Campbell proposes the proposed commercial rate decrease (because of increased demand charges) be eliminated and set to zero, while residential rates aren’t increased as much. I pointed this out to Council at the last meeting.

Fred Shanks talks about the commercial demand charge and keeping the proposed increase as it stands.

John Gilstrap is right in saying that Danville is just the middleman and resells the power. Tomer aays it’s irresponsible to vote no without any other options.

Campbell’s amendment fails 2-6. Lee Vogler makes a speech and says what Tomer says.

8:00 PM – Lee Vogler’s signing speech/filibuster continues. Money men Rawley & Shanks tell it like it is.

Commercial electric rates are already higher than the average. Higher commercial rates kill economic development.

We get it, Lee Vogler. There’s no alternative. He seems to think the Yes vote is in question.

8:15 PM – Gary Miller – “We did some dumb things” Rates increase passes on a 6-2 vote. Stormwater management ordinance time. Fred Shanks is the expert on this.

Expanded: The “dumb things” that Miller talked about was the previous decisions back in 2007 to approve the rate consultant’s idea of not charging the real electric rate for a while in hopes that the prices would go down. Council didn’t seem to believe that for obvious reasons yet went ahead and approved the plan.

8:30 PM – New business time. We’ll have the Adam Tomer Goodbye Ceremony in the around the horn segment at the end.

This is the most fun I’ve ever had at a City Council meeting. Everybody’s in a good mood.

The “Ban the Box” initiative passed 8-0. First thing I’ve seen in a long while that was talked about in the public comment session and passed at the next meeting.

8:50 PM – Gilstrap makes good points on prohibiting roller skates etc from the Main Street Plaza and the issue is tabled.

A very unsurprisingly quiet 8-0 vote about the Tobacco Commission money payback from the US Green Energy Job Bust.

Around the horn time and we start with a plaque presentation to Adam Tomer. He’s been a great councilman for 8 years and we will miss him.

DSCN2329

That’s it for tonight. More coming up on SouthsideCentral!”

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