DSC04411 Over the predictable objections of Councilmen Ron Fowler and Sheila Solon, who represent the residents of southern Blue Springs in District 3, the City Council voted 4-2 to continue to advance the Adams Dairy Landing project.

RED Development asked the council to consider allowing the issuance of bonds to pay for the street improvements earlier than originally anticipated and to allow the bond underwriters to consider the city’s credit rating when selling the bonds. It should be noted that this isn’t without risk, but city staff worked very conscientiously to mitigate that risk and put multiple layers of protection into the plan should sales tax revenue decline further.

While I doubt anyone was surprised by the comments of the various councilmen, given the history of this project, I was baffled by Councilman Solon’s comments as she read from a script. As I watched the meeting on the city Web site – http://tinyurl.com/bscouncil – I observed Councilman Solon tracing each word in her statement with her finger as she stated her opposition to the proposal. You might ask, what is wrong with that? It shows that she is prepared when she comes to the meeting.

Councilman Solon has long been praised by some of her constituents for coming to meetings well prepared. However, Dan Lowe, president of RED Development, was so surprised by her misstatements that he reapproached the podium and said to her, “In my opinion your comments may be a bit half-baked and certainly aren’t on target.” He went on to outline point by point the inaccuracies she was using to justify her vote. Based on the information provided in the meeting, Mr. Lowe was right on target with his comments.

The concern in this situation, as I see it, is that by pre-determining her position and writing her statement before hearing the full presentation, Councilman Solon’s statement no longer reflected the facts, making her position on the issue look arbitrary. This is the kind of behavior that results in lawsuits and wastes taxpayer money, as recently occurred on the Parkway West project. This is not a new behavior with Councilman Solon, as misstatements and a failure to follow the city attorney’s advice almost resulted in her removal from the Planning Commission several years ago.

In the end, the calm voice of reason was Councilman Kent Edmondson. He did an excellent job of describing the risks and benefits that the council was considering, and showed that he carefully, and without prior prejudice, weighed risk versus reward. His thorough evaluation indicated that the benefits far outweighed the risks in considering this resolution. In the end the council made the right decision to keep the project moving forward.