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October 23, 2014, 12:53 pm
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The Council Roundup

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Aldermen and Mayor Clash Over Handling of Oak Ridge Cemetery Options


Several Springfield Aldermen are embarrassed by what they say is perceived secrecy concerning the fate of Oak Ridge Cemetery.

 

It began during unfinished business Tuesday when Alderman Frank Edwards blasted Mayor Mike Houston for not telling aldermen about a consultant hired by the city to look into how to handle the historic cemetery.

 

Houston says the consultant was hired for $3,000 over the summer.

 

Alderman Gail Simpson says the city can do better to be more open and shouldn't operate in the dark.

 

Houston says the city was tasked to find a range of options but only provided three Tuesday evening: subsidizing, handing operations to a property management company or selling.

 

Alderman Joe McMenamin says those were not the options aldermen were looking for. Both Edwards and McMenamin said they will never vote for a property management company to take over Oak Ridge.

 

Meanwhile, Aldermen Joe McMenamin's amendment to an ordinance for a $15 million line of credit for City Water Light and Power failed. The ordinance went through as was proposed on the debate agenda.

 

McMenamin's amendment would have provided greater oversight and council approval for which bank would handle the loan and approval for withdrawals from the line of credit.

 

The amendment failed 5 to 4.

 

The Mayor and utility say the rarely used line of credit is there as insurance for possible emergencies.

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