GLASGOW – Come the 2020 Glasgow Common Council election, three fewer people will be elected to the city's governing body.
The current council voted 8-4 in favor of reducing its numerical composition from 12 to nine. The change would actually take effect with the two-year terms beginning January 2021. This was the second and final reading of the ordinance initiating the change.
At the Aug. 26 council meeting, the vote was narrower, with council members Patrick Gaunce, Brad Groce, Freddie Norris, Chasity Lowery, James Neal, Gary Norman and Joe Trigg voting in favor of the ordinance, and Terry Bunnell, Wendell Honeycutt, Marna Kirkpatrick, Sheri Eubank and Marlin Witcher voting in opposition.
On Monday, Kirkpatrick said that based on the feedback she'd received from community members since the first reading, she was going to vote in favor of it this time.
Honeycutt had started the discussion by asking whether anyone there thought the two of the three women on the council should be removed, because had there only been nine elected in the last election only one of the women on currently on the council would have received enough votes.
He said he felt the diversity they bring was more important than any financial gains to be had by eliminating the three positions.
He proposed an amendment to leave all 12 members on the council but cut the salaries to $500 per month, which he said would save roughly the same amount as eliminating three positions. Another council member later provided the figure for the current gross monthly salary of $717.88 to the Glasgow Daily Times. After slight discussion on that possibility, the motion for that amendment failed 8-4, with Eubank, Honeycutt, Kirkpatrick and Witcher voting in favor.
Kirkpatrick had asked Councilman Patrick Gaunce, who had sought the reduction in size, whether his intent was about the money, and he said that benefit would be more of a byproduct. It was more about feeling just that 12 people were not needed, and he had received feedback via a Facebook post and said no one of more than 2,200 people who had viewed the post expressed opposition to a reduction in size.
An informal poll conducted on the Daily Times website posted Thursday yielded 38 in favor of the reduction, 14 opposed and six who chose the “I don't care” option as of Monday evening.
Bunnell reiterated that his reason for voting against it the first time still applied, and that was that he felt they should study all possible options, ranging from how many members to whether it should move to having a different form of city government with a mayor and city manager.
“I just don't want us to rush into this,” he said.
Other discussion centered around committee responsibilities and how the change would impact those and a request from Trigg for the city attorney to look into options for having the council members to represent different wards, or portions of town, an idea he raised once before when the council was considering a reduction in size, but it had been tabled and the reduction didn't happen and the subject was not resurrected at that time.
In other business, the council unanimously approved the following:
• Second reading of an ordinance amending the city's rules and regulations pertaining to collection of garbage;
• Second reading setting the 2019 property tax rates at 17.3 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property and 17.6 cents for personal property;
• Three resolutions allowing application for grants that, if awarded to the city, would be used to provide adaptive swim lessons for handicapped children, handicapped-accessible playground equipment and smoke alarms;
• A resolution authorizing a mowing agreement with Billy Carver for a 20-acre area adjacent to the Glasgow Regional Landfill that is a different space than one for which a separate agreement was approved with someone else a few weeks ago;
• Four municipal orders – two for reappointments of Joe Austin and Benny Dickinson to the Fort Williams Restoration Commission, one for appointment of Tommy Simpson to the Board of Building and Housing Appeals and Stormwater Advisory Committee and one appointing Robert Tarry as the resident representative to the board of directors for the Housing Authority of Glasgow.