UPDATED: City Council Thursday: Will the 51st time be the charm, Mr. Price?

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The 3rd District’s accidental councilman, Steve “one chord and a cloud of dust” Price remained uncharacteristically quiet for most of last night’s city council meeting, but when the moment finally arrived for our otherwise admirably businesslike elected officials to lapse into their twice-monthly outburst of venomous acrimony – as always, fueled by 1st District councilman Dan Coffey’s intemperate malignancy – CM Price could no longer resist the temptation to join the sewer rate scrum.

He did so by falling back on another of his numbingly repetitious, oft-repeated mantras about the city’s sewer board: It “dropped the ball.”

Sewer Board member and lone council Republican Mark Seabrook replied to CM Price with the quote of the night, perhaps of the year: “I’ll answer your question for the 50th time,” by which we can reasonably infer that the first 49 responses fell on CM Price’s intentionally deaf ears, and in turn, allows us to instinctively grasp a smidgen of the bizarre and unresponsive grandeur that is my council district’s dross to bear.

I’ll leave the burden of the reporting to the local media, except to note that no substantive action was taken on the issue of sewer rate hikes beyond the suggestion that the $3.3 million pot of jail bond gold sought by the council as a means of reducing the amount of the inevitable increase might actually resemble certain deities in the sense that it can’t even be proven to exist.

With the notable exception of at-large councilman Jack Messer, who correctly noted that the council seems to be intent on restricting its choices to either prolonging the city’s sewer agonies or putting a band-aid on them – courses of action that “will affect the rest of our life as a city,” the city council continues to exhibit the unmistakable signs of paralysis as well as a stunning lack of consensus, but not without a continuing eagerness to point fingers and endlessly debate the personalities and decisions of yesteryear even as decision deadlines loom with imminent finality.

As my colleague Bluegill observed afterwards, there were numerous references to last year, to 2002, and even to 1992 … but none to 2007 and beyond.

There’ll be a required public hearing next Wednesday (August 23) for consideration of the phased-in sewer rate increase of 19%, as approved by the council on August 7 solely as a means of buying time and enough fiscal band-aids from other sources to forestall the only reasonable conclusion: A phased-in sewer rate increase of 19%, which I support.

Unfortunately, the forecast calls for increased grandstanding and a desperate and sad depletion of fiscal resources that will do absolutely nothing other than to delay further rate increases down the road – to be paid by the children and grandchildren that the Coup d’Geriatrique incessantly claims to be defending by perpetuating their own hoary feuds and mistaking these back alley cat fights for future vision.

Perhaps that’s always the way it will be in New Albany.

Must be something in the water.

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The Gang of Four’s stenographer has been shifted to Clarksville, so meet the C-J’s new New Albany beat reporter: New Albany delays sewer rate increase; Public hearing set for Wednesday, by Matt Batcheldor (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

At the New Albany Today blog: Disingenuous.

Reporter Campbell’s New Albany Tribune coverage: New Albany Sewer-rate proposal treads water.

(more media and blog links will be inserted here as they become available)

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