Mayor Mike's Thoughts on the Budget and the Need For a "High-Quality Aquatic Experience"
I said it the other day: The fact we can now trim down and embed City Hall videos will come in mighty handy on days when Dwaine Caraway goes off on self-proclaimed "tirades," in this case yesterday's 35-minute harangue involving the decision to shutter five city pools, two in his district. That video follows, for those who don't have a spare Curb Your Enthusiasm waiting to be watched on DVR.
But first, let's skip to the end -- to Mayor Mike Rawlings's initial thoughts on the budget, offered at the close of the three-hour-17-minute presentation. A few things. First: He's pleased City Manager Mary Suhm found money enough to fund hiring 200 police officers (since, as he says, public safety is "the foundation of the city"), and he wants to make sure the city pays the AT&T Performing Arts Center the $1.5 million the city promised to pay up (that issue pushes one of his "hot buttons").
Rawlings also wants to make folks more aware of 311 ("it's a tremendous asset to the city," says a man who's clearly never used it) and tells council members to "market it" better. He's also aghast and appalled that the city spends around $5 million cutting yards and vacant lots that have fallen out of code compliance. "That's troubling," he says. "That's a place where we could save a lot of money to spend on other things." Well ...
The former Park Board president then asks Park and Rec head Paul Dyer about the use of pools and his aquatic plan, which apparently is ready for the council whenever it's ready to see it. Dyer tells the mayor it's a "30-year plan that replaces the basic aquatic system," since what we have now isn't "what the community really wants" given dwindling attendance number. Dyer suggests funding it with, oh, maybe the sale of Elgin B. Robertson Park, which voters ixnayed in November. Rawlings agrees: "I just don't believe we're giving our citizens a high-quality aquatic experience, and they're speaking with their feet at times in that regard."
Now, take a dip in Dwaine.