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November 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, November 04, 2005

Council Briefs Council Briefs (November 04, 2005)

City approves updated emergency plan

Council members unanimously approved an updated emergency response plan even though most of them hinted that they had not read it.

Council member Greg Perry said that his preliminary reading of the plan left him concerned that the city's emergency preparedness was not going far enough in driving the city's decision-making process. For instance, he said, high concentrations of shake roofs pose a hazard in a big fire. Perhaps the zoning code should restrict such roofs, he said. He added that the long distance that public safety employees commute to work is another concern that can be addressed through policy.

"A policeman who lives in town may be worth more than one who lives 120 miles away," said Perry.

Matt Pear admitted that he had not read the plan, but expressed his confidence in police Chief Scott Vermeer and Office of Emergency Services director Lynn Brown, saying, "It's probably a very good plan."

The plan was before the council as a part of a regular update. Council members will be discussing it again in a study session.

Committee to discuss pay raises

Three city council members will consider recommending pay raises for the seven-member board. Council member Mike Kasperzak asked his fellow colleagues to refer the issue to the council procedures committee under the one-hour rule, which holds that any council member can propose anything that will take less than one hour of staff preparation.

"There are a lot of people that don't run for office because of the level of pay," Kasperzak told the Voice .

Council members have been earning $500 a month for decades. Some members blame the low pay for limiting representation on the council to mainly retired or semi-retired residents. The council voted 5-1 to refer the item. Matt Pear opposed, and Laura Macias was absent.

The council procedures committee consists of Mayor Matt Neely, Kasperzak and council member Greg Perry.
-- Jon Wiener

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