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A council Christmas

While 911 communications, building overruns and plenty of other meaty issues were on its agenda, the Fort Wayne City Council saved its most heated debate for whether it should meet next week.

In an effort to expedite a $20 million water project, the council attempted to approve it the same day it was introduced. Council President Mitch Harper, R-4th, blocked that effort – only one opponent is needed. Councilwoman Karen Goldner, D-2nd, then used a separate tactic to bring it for discussion, which only needs a super majority for approval.

Goldner succeeded in bringing it up for discussion, only to have Harper offer criticism for a seeming rush to approve such a large project.

“Some of these large expenditures need at least a week,” he said, while noting it seemed large projects have a habit of coming up late in an election year.

The only problem is that nobody on the council, save Harper, knew whether the council would be meeting on Dec. 20. Several members of the council and city staff said before the meeting they had no idea whether there would be a meeting because Harper had yet to rule on whether one would be necessary.

Councilman Tim Pape, D-5th, labeled Harper’s attack a smear on city staff and noted the water project has been discussed numerous times before. “There’s no surprise here. There’s no haste here.”

Harper said he didn’t know if there would be a need for a meeting until he saw what ordinances were to be introduced by the administration. He also couldn’t resist retorting to Pape’s comment.

“I look forward to next year when there will be more temperate comments made at the table,” he said in reference to the fact Pape did not seek reelection.

In the spirit of giving, the council decided to provide one more meeting this year to discuss and debate city issues. Happy holidays.

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