Discourse, decisions drive marathon meeting

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Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander said it ranked high on the list of longest Coeur d'Alene City Council meetings during her tenure. City staff who attended last night’s marathon session, meanwhile, were carrying cups of coffee around City Hall this morning.

“I think there were some in the past almost as long, but this is definitely in the top 10,” Goodlander said. “Or at least, top 5.”

Tuesday’s City Council meeting lasted nearly six hours, ending close to midnight before all the business was done.

Such marathons won’t be the norm, some council members said. It’s just some topics need to be discussed.

In last night’s case, they considered whether to give money to the county's transit system, extend a contract for grant administration services for the city's federal Community Block Development Grant, discussed details of the land purchase near Cherry Hill Park and also talked about purchasing trucks for the city’s water department.

“I don’t think it’s a trend,” said Dan Gookin, councilman. “It just so happens these were all on the same agenda.”

The four topics were originally scheduled for the consent calendar, which is often approved quickly, hence the name consent. Sometimes the items are pulled for further discussion, which is what happened to the four topics Tuesday night.

Council member Steve Adams pulled the item asking the city to give $43,983 to the Kootenai Transit System.

In a weekend story that ran in The Press, Adams said he opposes funding the transit system on grounds that the government shouldn’t provide free public transportation.

The transit system allocation passed Tuesday, as did the other three. It was the discourse that munched up the clock.

Will it be the norm? The new council’s only been together since January, and political differences do exist. Look at every McEuen Field related vote, which always ends four votes to three votes, for example. Last night’s Cherry Hill vote, tied to McEuen Field, ended that way.

“I thought it was good discussion. I gave my opinion, articulated some points on Citylink and extending the (grant administration contract),” Adams said. He opposed extending the contract.

“I think we effectively hashed out what we could," Adams said.

Video footage of Tuesday's meeting can be viewed here, Coeur d'Alene City Council, March 20

How do you think the new City Council is getting along? And how do you see the remaining two years playing out?

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