The Crystal City Council had one work session, a council meeting, and citizen input time during April 2015 week 4 (week beginning April 20).
Citizen Input Time
During the non-summer months, the city council hosts Citizen Input time once per month. Citizen input time is an open time for citizens to come in and bring up items of concern to the council. It’s a much more relaxed and less formal setting than a regular council meeting, so that makes it a good time to just come and discuss whatever is on your mind. During the summer months, we take the show on the road, so to speak, and attend community meetings in select parks. You can find the schedule on the city’s website.
This month we heard from three residents. One wanted to discuss an ongoing issue with a pond in her backyard, one wanted to discuss an unfortunate issue she experienced with a subcontractor for Centerpoint Energy related to the street reconstruction project, and one wanted to speak about some concerns he had with the maintenance of the road in front of his house.
City staff is continuing to work on the pond, followed up with Centerpoint regarding the issues with the contractor, and we have a crew looking into the road situation.
The council receives regular updates about ongoing issues which were brought forth by citizens during our regular work sessions every other Tuesday. This is a new process we instituted this year to ensure no citizen concerns are falling through the cracks and going unaddressed.
Council Meeting Highlights
- Moment of Silence - We began the meeting with a moment of silence for Barway Collins. The mayor followed that up by thanking the Crystal Police Department, and especially Chief Stephanie Revering for their work to quickly resolve the case.
- Lynn Haney Day – Mayor Adams declared May 8, 2015 Lynn Haney Day in Crystal. Lynn is the President of the Crystal Frolics* and has been on the Parks Commission since 1997, volunteering countless hours to our city. This was much deserved recognition for Lynn. *In case you didn’t know, Crystal Frolics is a non-profit organization run by community volunteers.
- Phase 14 Assessments – Tuesday’s meeting was when we held the official public hearing prior to setting the special assessment for the Phase 14 street reconstruction project. Crystal is in phase 14 of 16 of a project that will reconstruct every street in the city- the project has been going on for many years. We heard directly from about 10 residents, and a few more submitted letters. There was a fairly clear consensus from the council and the crowd that after the final two phases are completed, the council will need to reconsider the policy of using special assessments for street construction. I am not in favor of special assessments- I think they are a hidden tax. I also struggle to understand (as did several residents) what our tax dollars go to if they aren’t used to maintain our roads. However, I do not support changing course with only 3 phases out of 16 remaining, so we will have to get through these final 3 phases using the existing process.
- Water Main – We passed a resolution saying that we would fund our share of the water main replacement project that will happen later this summer. We have not yet decided where we’ll get the $1.6 million. That discussion is ongoing. All we said was that we’ll get it somewhere, which will allow the project to go forward. I covered this topic in the work session section of my last review.
Work Session Highlights
Only one item on the agenda this week and that was a discussion of CenturyLink’s application to get a cable franchise that would serve Crystal (we’re in a franchise area that includes several surrounding cities) . The open questions are 1) should CenturyLink be required to serve all residents of the area within 5 years, as the predecessor to the predecessor to the predecessor to Comcast was required to do in the 1980s? and 2) What amount should CenturyLink be required to donate to support Channel 12 and NWCTV? Comcast paid $300,000 when they signed their last 10 year agreement. Ultimately these questions will be resolved by the Northwest Suburban Cable Communications Commission. Crystal has two representatives on that commission.
The next council meeting is May 5.
You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here. Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.