Longmont City Council-Public invited to be heard 6/16/09

The following is my text from my speech at the public invited to be heard portion at the Longmont City Council meeting on June 16, 2009.

I’d like to talk about more than one topic tonite.
Firstly, I am a writer for the Longmont community for a variety of media publications and I think it’s a disservice to the Longmont citizens for councilmember McCoy to suggest that any other paper besides the Daily Times Call should be looked at as a source for local announcements, in particular legal notices. Why? The Times Call has the largest circulation in town and if you really want Longmont residents to best be aware of these notices, the Times Call is the best place to do that. I’ve also heard Councilmember Benker make comments about the paper being “a conservative paper” and have heard that she wants to pull city business out of the paper. They do seem very happy with the pricing Lehman Communications does for providing printing services for the new upstart Longmont Life “newspaper.” I really don’t see why this is being made a problem.

My second topic is that I’d also like to encourage the city council to continue to use the current methods to exterminate prairie dogs at the airport. I like prairie dogs and I have also discussed this issue at length with a close friend who has a degree in Wildlife Biology and I appreciate city staff time that has been spent trying to mitigate this issue. But, I think it’s ridiculous that in the past two years, that $27,382 of the Airport Fund was directed towards ineffective prairie dog management practices with CO2 cartridges, labor, and prairie dog barrier maintenance which yielded limited results and resulted in having to now come back at a time when the population has only increased with the births of newborn prairie dogs. In two applications of the current aluminum phosphide method recently, the annual maintenance cost is cut more than 50%, which is a considerable savings both monetarily as well as in labor and is more effective. And now I read that prairie dogs are starting to overrun the neighboring Blue Skies Park, which was named after an aviation based foundation that gave this city $10k towards supporting the city ice rink. Councilmember McCoy is council liaison for this airport and the airport is in Councilmember Benker’s ward. Advocate more for our airport, it’s not just a hobby to the pilots and aviation based businesses there and it has the capacity to generate millions for this city. Attend the upcoming airport open house in August and you will see that.

Thirdly, the city council needs to stay on top of the mosquito control plan and given all the rain recently and the large number of outdoor events planned here…it might want to reconsider it’s plan and not wait until traps show mosquitoes infected with West Nile. I was a recent Boulder Co Parks & Open Space meeting and they were concerned about it, so should this council.

Finally, I disagree with the idea that our hardworking city employees should be subject to furloughs to help balance the budget. Instead cut back on the money spent on studies. Cut back on the hiring of outside consultants. Cut back on the hiring of large salary administrators of newly created positions. And end the legal actions with Firestone BEFORE you consider furloughing city staff.

—Brigette Rodriguez

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