Sometimes I find it hard to believe our City Council is for real.

Last week I heard a council member argue against repairing a retaining wall the nearby homeowners say the city built because only one homeowner was affected. Never mind that if the wall fails, East Street will be in that homeowner’s backyard, and everyone on the block will be affected. In that very same meeting, that same council member supported helping homeowners around Mill Pond to get rid of weeds in the pond. And, that same council member said something to the effect that some of Jordan’s volunteer firefighters might want to be EMTs, but not want to man an ambulance, and the city should accommodate them.

Remember too, this is the council that was so active in getting taxpayer money to restore the brewery hillside, which incidentally, is private property.

Sometimes it seems like we’ve gone down the rabbit hole, and into a realm where what is isn’t, and what isn’t might be.

Excuse me while I set my teacup aside, and we’ll take a look at what’s under this Mad Hatter’s hat.

First the wall.

Apparently the city engineer was unable to find (or at least prove) who built the East Street retaining wall.

This is curious.

If it was built by a private property owner, a project of that size (over four feet high) would require a building permit, and considerable input from city planners and the planning commission. So, if there’s no building permit, it’s most likely not a private project. Which means it’s a public project. (Can’t be a commercial project in that area because we have zoning codes.) Which means there is planning and purchasing documentation, right?

The city engineer told the council that property lines in the area are indistinct, and an expensive survey would be needed to confirm exact lot lines.

Oddly, the city owns property across the alley from the affected homeowner’s property. It would seem the city bought the property without knowing where its lot lines are. Sadly, this may have actually happened, since the city has been shown in the past to be very lackadaisical about record keeping, and project management. Digging out the plans for the water pumping station on the city’s property should shed some light on the lot line issue, since the city would have to conform to easements and setbacks, right?

If the city can’t or won’t decide who owns what and who built what, maybe the city should just take the word of its constituent property owners, don’t you think?

Also curious.

Now, about those weeds in the pond, generally they’re caused by unwanted nutrients getting into the water. In all probability, there are three main sources of unwanted nutrients. Goose poop, dog poop, and runoff from lawns. The cure for geese is shooting, or having dogs patrol all around the pond. But a dog patrol would only add to the dog poop problem. The cure for unwanted nutrients in runoff is to stop using fertilizers and herbicides, and create or expand natural vegetation buffers. Anything that makes lawns green — with nitrogen and phosphorous, or without — will promote weed growth in the pond.

And to remind councilors who may have forgotten, or never knew — on a motion at the Aug. 4, 2014 meeting by council member Joe Thill, and seconded by council member Jeremy Goebel, the city authorized spending up to $25,000 to purchase a WeeDoo aquatic weed harvester for use on Mill Pond. (For the record, I opposed the motion because I thought renting the equipment until we knew it would work made more sense.)

Plus, each and every year the city spends a lot for weed treatment. It seems to me the primary beneficiaries of that expense are shoreline homeowners. Why would the city want to spend more to enhance the aesthetics of the pond, but not be willing to repair its own retaining wall to protect a city street?

More curious.

And for those homeowners who are genuinely trying to keep unwanted nutrients out of the pond, kudos! Your efforts are appreciated.

Finally, about those firefighters, why would any of them want to be EMTs, but not be willing to serve in an ambulance? Do those few want to be paid for EMT training, but not have to use it in its most appropriate setting? Aren’t all Jordan volunteer fire department members cross-trained to serve in every function (except driving the long trucks)?

Firefighters (EMTs especially) deserve, and have my respect. What they do is beyond my ability. But the sub-set of firefighters who want to, or are only able to perform limited functions should ask themselves why they want to be firefighters. Maybe they should have a limited role, with reduced pay, reduced training, and reduced responsibility.

All that from just one city council meeting.

Curiouser, and curiouser.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people”, said Alice. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here.” -Lewis Carroll

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member, and Jordan resident since Valentine’s Day, 2003.


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