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Fifteen show up for protest
Local resident Marvin Cauthorn came in his wheelchair.
-subtitled What I Learned Standing Out in the Cold for an hour and a half

About fifteen Clinton rate payers showed up Monday evening between 5:45 and 6 and braved the cold to protest the City's inaction on lowering the 133% sewer rate. Most of the City Council came early to the meeting - avoiding running the "gauntlet" of protesters.  After standing out in the cold wind - the March lion roaring in to freeze noses and toes - everyone outside wound up inside the meeting.

What I learned about the sewer project once inside was:

First, the engineers weren't sure where the sewer lines ran when they started the project. That meant their projections of the volume for the lift station was underestimated.
Second, the wrong pumps for the job were installed ($20,000) and now new pumps ($50,000) need to be installed. They will be better, faster, more efficient, painted red white and blue and powering a giant American flag. (Okay, I made that last part up).
Third, another round of bids and permits will be needed. The project may or may not be finished by late summer.
Fourth, the engineers want more money to finish the job. The Council voted to pay them $8000 more. The vote took about 60 seconds.
Fifth, the project is "under budget". But the generator that would have cost $15000 at a prior meeting is up to $38,000.
Sixth, issues with overflow are probably the fault of sewers on private property. The Council should give the sewer police a way to force repairs. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.)
Seventh, no vote on lowering the sewer rates. No discussion. 

In other business, the Council discussed sidewalk repair. Took no action.
The Council discussed mobile homes as rental property. Took no action.
The Council voted to increase police pay because the budget provided for four officers and we have three. When the Mayor questioned whether the pay will be there in a year, the City Clerk said there is extra money in escrow. (Wonder where that came from? Sewer rates, maybe?) 

Next month, a new leader takes over the protest. Expect fireworks in April.

Welcome to small town representative government.

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