Michael Bobbitt: Notes From The Peanut Gallery (City Council, June 25th, 2012)

I attended Monday’s Henderson City Council meeting because I read on HomeInHenderson the citizen concern for expansion of video gaming parlors.  I wanted to see for myself the number of people who would come to the council meeting to express their view regarding the expansion.  Besides myself only one other person attending the council meeting was not a council member, city manager, city attorney, or a city employee. 

Consideration of Approval of Ordinance 12-08, An Ordinance Eliminating Distance Restrictions on Electronic Gaming Operations Within Shopping Centers.

Following Mr. Zollicoffer’s summary of this ordinance five council members actively discussed the affects of the ordinance.  Mr. Deake asked how many additional stations.  Mr. Zollicoffer said depending on available physical space 100 additional stations.  Ms. Coffey asked if different parlors must have different owners.  I did not hear Mr. Zollicoffer answer this question.  Mr. Rainey asked if the 250 feet of separations from residential property applied.  Mr. Zollicoffer said not in a shopping center.  Ms. Coffey asked if the decision to approve this ordinance could be postponed until some of the unanswered or unclear answered question could be researched.  The council agreed to postpone their vote to a future meeting.  Maybe those on HiH who objected to the expansion of gaming parlors might show sufficient interest to attend the next meeting and publicly express their view.  Sadly none of the council members asked for an estimate of number of new jobs will come with the expandion of the gaming parlors.  How many employees does it currently take to collect the customers’ money or occasionally fine tune a machine? New jobs is part of the justification for this change to the ordinance.  It was very refreshing to see the open vigorous exchange of ideas by the Council and the City Manager and Mr. Zollicoffer, so unlike the lack of vitality of County Commissioners meetings.


 In very rapid succession the Council reviewed, discussed, and voted on the seven new business topics.  Having observed the County Commissioners meeting I was pleased to see the City Department head actually present to discuss the ordinance change or resolution.  The County Commissioners listen while the County Manager explains the topic then they may discuss the topic among themselves or the County Manager before voting on the topic.  The Council meeting the City Manager has the department head do the speaking on the topic to the Council.  The Council members did query the department head who answered their questions and concerns before any vote is taken. 

In the published agenda under the topic F of new business is the following note: Attachment A to Resolution 12-51 will be distributed during the meeting.  Mr. Griffin explained the details in the attachment were not available on Friday and were now available.  The attachment is specific to the contract with O’Brien & Gere for engineering services.  Ms. Coffey, Mr. Rainey, and Mr. Zollicoffer had a genuine difference of option as to the meaning of the 7th whereas in the attachment.  During the discussion of the attachment Mr. Insoce said I don’t like to vote on anything I have not read.  Resolution 12-51 was tabled for a later meeting.  If you have observed County Commissioners the tabling of inserted topics until they are read and understood would be a novel concept.

Public comment period on non-agenda items

Ms. Geraldine Champion spoke to the Council about an issue with the streets in her community.  She had a picture to better tell her story.  Good to see the public address the elected officials with issues and concerns.