COWncil Roundup – June 24th, 2008

July 17, 2008

Mayor Romines ‘reported’ that there was nothing to report out of the closed session when the COWncil began their public session. COWncilmember Gordon wasn’t present for the meeting. As always you watch the meeting here on Mootube.

A very interesting exchange at the beginning of this meeting is worth checking out on Mootube even if you don’t normally watch the webcasts. Despite Town Manager Susan George’s comments at the previous meeting detailing how the Day of the Horse costs too much for little benefit for a small portion of our COWmunity members, WHOA – the group who puts on the Day of the Horse – gave a presentation to the COWncil that ended with a check from the group for $5,000 (the check was earmarked for trail maintenance on Mountain Home Road, Woodside Road, and other horse trails in the area) and a thanks for supporting Day of the Horse!

Why is this significant? Because later on, during the approval of next year’s budget (around 27:30 min. into the tape) suddenly the Town was supporting Day of the Horse instead of cutting funds for the reception! Susan George laughed and assured the meeting that it wasn’t ‘Quid Pro Quo’ and that they had cut a deal. What could that possibly mean? What sort of deal did they cut? Was it really as obvious and hamhanded as the WHOA people cutting a check to the COWncil for $5,000 to get a larger benefit back to their group’s activity? And if not, what public benefit does the Day of the Horse reception provide as of this meeting that it didn’t provide two weeks before?

As part of the Consent Calendar, and not pulled off to be discussed, was the COWncil’s annual August Vacation… er, ‘August Legislative Recess.’ The accompanying one-page staff recommendation asserted that there are “no pressing issues” that will require Town COWncil consideration during August, and that it would be appropriate to take off both regular meetings in August.

There was an extended discussion about the 2008 Road Rehabiliation Project. COWncilmember Burow started it off with complaints about the quality of the previous year’s contractor’s work, stating that Woodside Drive had to repatched several times; Peter Mason concurred and said that work was left half-done long enough for severe damage to the road surface to result before the work was completed. Burow didn’t want that contractor to be considered for this year’s work, but it was explained by the Town Attorney Jean Savaree that as a public entity Woodside has “very limited options” in it’s ability to reject any contractor. Members of the COWncil wanted performance guarantees written into future contracts. After more discussions on road issues the overall Project was approved.

The COWncil then launched into a discussion of the budget – other than the ‘Not Quid Pro Quo’ mentioned earlier, most of this was fairly routine. Debra Allison was promoted to Senior Planner as of June 12th – taking on some of Hope’s duties? COWncilmember Hodges asked if there was anyone else being promoted and Susan George said no, not until October. The budget was adopted, including the funding for the Day of the Horse.

The Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones ordinance was then discussed and adopted. The subject of a special meeting two weeks before, it was adopted exactly as the state recommended, despite concerns from our Fire Marshall Denise Enea that the area covered was too small and does not include dangerous areas like The Glens. Susan George said Town staff would work with the FPD to get evidence to support an expansion, if the COWncil is interested. We know that the rest of us in fire-prone Woodside are interested, so we hope that this matter will not be dropped.

The meeting ended shortly thereafter, with no mention of staff troubles (see our recent articles about the Hope Sullivan situation). It was adjourned in honor of Larry Wenrick, a former member of the Town Manager’s Ad Hoc Road Committee, who recently passed away.

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