It took from 9:20 to 10:47 for CITCOM to formally announce that Royal Oak voters in November will have the opportunity to increase their tax rate and simultaneously amend the City Charter. The dialogue, much of it scripted and rehearsed or coached, merely made public much of the background due diligence which has been under way for months.
Mayor Jim Ellison guided the testimony in such a manner as to counter the widespread impression that an increased millage would not be needed except for the number of bars in the Central Business District. With a series of statements and questions directed to Deputy Police Chief Gordon Young and City Manager Don Johnson, Ellison painted a positive scenario: There is no Wild West problem downtown . . . Money collected in parking structures and from parking tickets generates enough income to pay for more than a dozen police officers . . . Most of the visits to bars are walkthroughs, not calls for service.
Citizens seem to have already decided how they are going to vote. One would have expected a large turnout of Public Comment speakers to attend this meeting. Only 8 did, and 6 of them approve the increase.
More exciting than the relatively boring millage discussion was the unnecessary and chicken-shit* squabble over the proposed Verizon installation of two radio towers in the Center Street parking structure. Only Ellison and Poulton agreed that the proposed contract is fairly standard and that the city has others very much like it. The issue was tabled.
*The military term for the trivial nit-picking engaged in by the other 5 at The Table.
A likely source for future wrangling: An ad hoc committee to begin working on a "Downtown Plan" has been established: Ellison, Rasor DuBuc, Johnson, and Planning Director Tim Thwing were named to the committee -- after a request for volunteers drew no takers.