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Policy Talk Highlights Marathon CS Meeting

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For two and a half hours, a College Station city council meeting provided enough drama for countless community plays. Even a former mayor had a hard time keeping up with things.

"I think there was a lot of confusion among the council as to what the motion was, and I'm not sure it was clarified," said ex-College Station mayor Lynn McIlhaney, in attendance Monday night.

What was supposed to be a simple meeting on the budget drew droves of art enthusiasts. Interim city manager Glenn Brown presented a proposed policy change to the council, calling for a standardized request for funds. Until now, there has been no uniformity for the application process, but the proposed change would act to clarify matters.

"It asked for some very basic accounting information," said Councilmember Ron Gay. "It asked for some very basic budgeting information. It asked for some very basic goal setting information."

"I'm not opposed to changes," said fellow councilmember Susan Lancaster, "but it's so late in the process that I would have rather seen it go forward, and then for us to really discuss it openly in the community."

While for nearly 90 minutes, citizens voiced their concerns and fear that their beloved art council may lose funding through the new process, some on the council feared the plan asked too much of the agencies.

"To basically go back and to ask these organizations to resubmit all of their applications and their funding requests is somewhat unfair," Lancaster said.

But others say the organizations need to provide the info. "It means that a lot of organizations, some of them very small, are going to have to do a lot more work to justify expenditures from the taxpayers of College Station," said Gay.

Councilmember Lancaster motioned for any policy changes to be postponed until next year's budget. That motion failed by one vote.

Councilmember John Happ then called for all but one of the policy changes to be enacted now, with a proposed citizen's council to review funding requests to be discussed later. Happ also motioned that all agency requests for money from this year's budget be penciled in, with future changes to be determined in the final three budget meetings. That vote passed 7-0, a unanimous end to a tumultuous evening.