Friday, December 16, 2005

Council - We Forgive Your Choice in 2005...

...but this city has for too long been at risk of the catastophe of being, even for one moment, being directed by the council member elected by the absolute minimum number of voters.

As we head toward January 2006 and the vote on a City Council president, it is an imperative that the council see to it that the minority representative (and I DO NOT MEAN Mark Seabrook) is removed from any possibility of affecting the course of government.

No matter the matter the party line...the council member from the 1st District must be eliminated from any possibility of exerting his medieval mentality on the city.

No matter who the council elects as president in 2006, it must not for one moment compromise its integrity to the grasping ambition of Councilman Cappucino. If anything has become clear, any of seven members of the council are more qualified to serve as vice-president of the City Council.

As a life-long Democrat, I must admit that even Mark Seabrook would make a better vice president. Do not pander, council. Second place in the January vote is NOT a justification for making council's most unqualified member vice president. Give it to Seabrook before you concede the position to Dan Coffey, Democrat-in-name-only.

If you don't credit my opinion, just ask Vila-ann.

And let me invite you, readers, to nominate (and explicate) your choice for council president in 2006, and your choice for vice-president.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rumpkegate Matters

The integrity of New Albany's city council remains under a cloud until the council itself addresses the damage and condemns the recent Rumpkegate activities.

You will recall that during Thanksgiving week more than one local resident confidently stated that the bid process for a new sanitation contract had been corrupted, that despite the strictures of a sealed bidding process, the contract had already been awarded to Rumpke, one of the bidders.

Although the assertion was palpably untrue, it represents an attempt by persons unknown to tamper with the public bidding process, to extort bribes or other consideration from current and prospective bidders, and to discourage bidders with integrity from seeking public contracts.

When the statement was challenged, it was defended by the claim that not only was it true, but that the source of the corrupt information was one or more city council members.

Only 5th District Council Member Beverly Crump has publicly denied being the instigator of this rumor. Council President Jeff Gahan must assert his authority tonight to make it clear that no member of this council would be involved in extortion of bribes or theft of public information. And if any council member should admit involvement in Rumpkegate, the council as a whole must censure that member in the strongest possible terms.

Anything less does damage to this city, its residents, the council itself, and the public trust. And Gahan's legacy as council president for 2005 will be indelibly marred and diminished.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pulling at the Thread, Continued

We resume our end-of-year thread.

Some of the recent stresses in the city have been relieved, but we still face challenges.

Use the comments section here to highlight the great moments of 2005, the embarrassments of the year, and tell us where you think we should focus our attention in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

BPWS Accepts Mayor's Recommendation to Award Sanitation Contract to Clark-Floyd Landfill/Eco-Tech

Say so long to the acrimony and give James Garner his due. Despite the suspicion, Garner recommended and the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety has concurred in choosing to award Clark-Floyd Landfill LLC/Eco-Tech LLC the contract to collect residential trash beginning on Jan. 2, 2006.

I have the BPWS memorandum in front of me and am analyzing it now. But here are the high points:

* The bid selected charges $12.90 per household, slightly under the current user fee charged to residential customers with one can.

* The bidder intends to employ most, if not all, of the current employees of the Sanitation Department.

* No immediate increase in user fees will be necessary.

* In the fifth out-year, the bid is for $15.68, based on a (high) CPI increase of 5% per year.

Here were the criteria used to make the selection:

1. Will the bidder retain or offer jobs to current employees? C-F was the only bidder who scored 10 points.

2. Will the bidder be able to start by Jan. 1? C-F and Rumpke were the only bidders who could.

3. To what extent does the bidder plan to utilize the Clark-Floyd landfill (where the city has a commitment to deliver 16,000 tons, minimum)? C-F was the only bidder taking 100% to C-F Landfill - kind of a no-brainer - but the other bidders were seeking additional profits by using competing landfills.

4. Will bidder eliminate risk of future losses to city? All bidders scored the max.

5. How does the bid address the payoff of truck and container costs within the current rate? Neither ID nor C-F came in with bid levels that paid them off, but each left some of the user fee available for equipment cost retirement.

6. Does the bid maintain the current level (amount) of items picked up? C-F is the only bidder who could promise that.

7. Does the bid address the pickup of large items? Only C-F said yes.

8. How often will recycling pickup take place? It appears that recycling will only be picked up twice a month (or perhaps every other week).

9. Which bid offers the lowest rate in the fifth year out? C-F ranked second here.

With 9 questions, the preferred response would earn 10 points per question. C-F scored 80.5. ID scored 46. Rumpke scored 31.5.

Watch for more details and comment in Wednesday's New Albany Tribune...and please feel free to resume posting here or in our conversation below about the good and bad of 2005.