Yesterday was a busy day, which made today a big news day for me!
First of all, the city commissioners named a new city manager last night. Big story No. 1.
Second, they set the date for a municipal election to elect two new members of the Board of Commissioners. Two commissioners whose terms expire in April 2009 have announced they will not seek re-election. This has the potential of severely shifting the balance of the board. Already a previous commissioner has announced he will seek one of the positions. This is a good thing -- he is experienced and brings a very cool, level head and calming spirit to the position. I don't know yet who else will seek one of these offices.
Third, the school board met last night and voted to extend last year's teachers' contract to end an impasse between the school district and the Association of Classroom Teachers which has been ongoing since negotiations bogged in September. The two sides have tried to negotiate a settlement but they were unable to, even after a three-member fact-finding commission held a hearing and made recommendations. So it is done, over, finished for this year and the board and teachers will find themselves right back at work on a contract for next school year.
And today we have a city election on extending a half-cent sales tax for another five years to cover cost overruns on a project to build the city's Aquatic and Family Center -- YMCA. The original sales tax was passed overwhelmingly when the projected cost of the center was $16 million. When bids were opened in July this year, however, bids came in at $23 million, $24 million and $26 million.
City commissioners and the board of the YMCA hired a construction manager at-risk to do value engineering on the project and then the commission called for a special election which would extend the sales tax for an additional five years, expiring either at the end of the five years or when the tax has raised enough money to cover construction costs.
Today we are having a winter snow storm (it is becoming severe even as I type!) The weather definitely will play a roll in this vote. Emotions are high on both sides of this issue.
One salient point is that ConocoPhillips recently announced that it will be pulling an additional 700+ jobs from here, which puts the issue at risk of not passing, certainly moreso than when the election was set. Talk about bad timing -- the crash of the economy coupled with this pull-out, coupled with rising construction costs...
I have come home to work this afternoon in order to get myself off of the snow-laden streets. I am in to stay. I've arranged to call the election board through the evening for updates.
Tonight is also the company Christmas dinner, which I had planned to attend. Instead, I'll be working on some school issues and relaying election information via text messages to another worker at the party, who will post via laptop to the company web site (and also keep the boss informed of the results.)
This accomplishes much. It gets me home earlier this afternoon; keeps us current on the election count without having to drive in this weather to the county election board in the county seat 21 miles away, and keeps me from having to dress up for a company party at the country club.
I don't care so much how the election goes -- the people will speak. But I count ALL of that as a win for ME! (And we all know it's all about me, right?)