Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 30, 2014

Visioning Committee brings controversy

By Xiomara Levsen | Jul 02, 2013

RIVERSIDE—The July 1 Riverside City Council meeting became heated when the topic of the visioning committee came up.
During the work session on June 23 city administrator Rusty Rogerson made a recommendation to the council about what to do with the funds for the visioning committee.
“We know the projects that are out there,” Rogerson said. “I made a recommendation we place the money in the general operating fund and with those, identify projects assigned that are done, and that we paid for.”
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen motioned to move the visioning committee’s money over to the city general funds for the 2013-14 fiscal year by. He also included the funds to be used for approved projects.   
Councilor Chris Kirkwood wanted to know if anyone on the council knew how the visioning committee members felt about moving the money since a meeting hasn’t been held since April.
Visioning committee president Larry Simon explained they didn’t have a meeting in May because of Blues Fest. In June it was because another member was on vacation, he said.
“To tell you the truth Chris, nobody on the visioning committee has communicated with me at all,” Simon said.
Despite not having a meeting since April there are still several projects the committee is working on, Simon said. He said he has been working on the sign and speaking with people in Jasper County about their trail system.     There are some ideas about the downtown area, which will be brought to the city council at the next meeting.
“But Rusty’s saying already identified projects,” Poch said.
Simon said there were a few projects the visioning committee is finishing up and this is what the money was for.
“That’s what this motion is for,” Poch said. “I would think they would talk about this in the past.”
“If they haven’t had a meeting they haven’t had a chance to talk about anything,” Kirkwood said. “Where were the ideas for the projects coming from?”
Simon said the visioning committee is a group of citizens who attend the visioning committee meetings and bring up ideas for the committee to pursue. He said he hasn’t made any decisions but brings the ideas forward to the group and lets the majority decides what ideas to approach the city council with.
“A couple of people have asked me why they have not gotten an e-mail,” Kirkwood said. “They’ve not been contacted and they kind of wonder when the next meeting is going to be.”
“I have to ask, why are they asking you?” Poch said. “Why aren’t they asking Larry?”
Simon said he has heard of a committee members going in to city hall and asking the staff about the visioning committee. He said those committee members were directed to contact him and he has yet to hear from them.
“The people on the visioning committee need to work toward the present,” Poch said. “They do not own members of the club and you guys all need to get along together and start meeting in a public venue, like this right here.”
Councilor Nate Kasdorf tried to stop Poch from speaking any further about the visioning committee. He told Poch to move on.
“Yeah, we’re way off base here,” Kasdorf said.
“No, we’re not,” Poch said.
“Yeah, we are,” Kasdorf said.
“Hold on, I’m in charge of the meeting,” Poch said.
Kasdorf said point of order to Poch.
Poch said he would recognize the point of order but he was angry. He then moved on to call for a vote on the motion.
City employee Lory Young wanted to know what amount was going to be moved over to the general fund. Kirkwood said the committee had a grant for $25,000, which ran out in June. The remainder of the grant was around $19,000 is what Kirkwood said she was told.
Rogerson said yes and the city would roll it over to the general funds.  
The motion passed unanimously.
See tomorrow’s edition of The Journal for more on the Riverside City Council meeting.



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