Tomorrow there will be 26 regular agenda items for council to vote on at the formal session. The increase in agenda items was most likely caused by the new meeting schedule and budget discussions dominating most of the informal meeting time. A few months ago the City Manager implemented a few changes on how agenda items were presented to council members. Generally, the more controversial issues were presented to council one week in advance. This was so council members had enough time to review the details of the ordinance, and give citizens enough notice if they wished to comment on the subject. At last week’s council meeting, we didn’t discuss any of the 26 items we are to vote on tomorrow. I’m a little bit disappointed, since we spent two hours listening to presentations on Sewer Laterals and Hurricane Season Preparedness, both of which could have been presented at a later date. Don’t get me wrong, they were great presentations and we needed to hear them. I would have rather had more conversation about some of these agenda items. I’m going to give the Manager’s office the benefit of the doubt on this one. I think the budget process just took up a lot of time. Closing a $32 million budget gap had to be the priority. I hope things will get back on track so we can maintain our new open form of government.
One Agenda item of interest is R-22 which asks for a lease renewal of the Tazwell Building. This building houses the Police and Fire Administrative Offices and the lease extension was recently covered in a Virginian-Pilot article. I hope the city can get a handle on the amount of space we lease and eventually consolidate into one or two buildings.
If you haven’t been to the new City of Norfolk web site, you should check out the new links and information you can find on the home page. The IT Department and Clerk’s Office have done an outstanding job updating some parts of the site. In particular, I hope you will check out the Council Appointments page. If you see a board, commission or authority you might me interested in, you can now fill out the application online and submit it electronically. Council would love to have more interested citizens apply, and bring some new voices to these committees. Contact your city council representative and introduce yourself as well. It helps to have an advocate when we make our appointments.