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City Council meetings always seem to provide entertainment

By Staff | Aug 30, 2010

I have a confession to make.

I hate having to go to meetings. But, that is not really the confession. Read on.

Hating meetings is probably not too surprising, as not many people would actually confess to loving attending a meeting.

But, in my occupation, going to – and covering – meetings comes with the territory.

However, after attending a few thousand meetings in the past 35-plus years, I guess I have grown just a little weary of them. Especially the ones where nothing seems to be getting accomplished.

Here is where the confession comes in.

Out of all the types of meetings I have had to cover, City Council meetings are my favorite. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

County Commissioner meetings can tend to get a little boring. Especially when the topic is drainage ditches, road construction, or septic systems.

School board meetings, too, can get bogged down, when the topic is budgets, state testing or purchasing new buses.

(I am sure I will hear about this comment at the next county commissioner or school board meeting I attend. I can hear it now, “So, we are boring you, are we?” Actually I wasn’t necessarily referring to meetings here in Faribault County, but in other locales I have lived in.)

City Councils, on the other hand, always seem to have at least one interesting item pop up during the course of their meeting.

I am not sure why this is so true, but I suspect it has to do with the operations on the city level. While the county and the school would probably keep on running along pretty well whether there were commissioners or school board members or not, the city fathers make more hands on decisions.

And, since they don’t always agree on what is best for the citizens they represent, city meetings can be exciting and entertaining at times. Especially since the discussions are mandated by law to be held in the public’s view.

Lately, City Council meetings have been extremely interesting, but not always necessarily in a good way.

Winnebago had their turn when the city administrator accused some of the council members of breaking the law. Blue Earth was next in the spotlight when they couldn’t agree on an airport runway extension, the city administrator’s review, what areas to mow, and now the airport management contract.

In fact, the Blue Earth council hasn’t been in total agreement on much of anything lately.

But, the Wells City Council takes top prize. It is not often a council faces a lawsuit brought forward by one of its own members. Or gets rid of a councilman by de-annexing his home from the city itself.

Yes, there always seems to be something interesting going on at City Council meetings. And, there has been an increase in members of the public attending area council meetings.

The ones in Wells became so popular with the citizens, that the council moved their meetings from the Wells City Hall to the community center, to accommodate the number of people who have been coming to the meetings.

Wells Mayor Shannon Savick thinks the public attendance has been great, and has welcomed it. Even if, sometimes, the people are there to complain about something.

Meetings in Blue Earth and Winnebago have also seen an increase in public attendance.

As one person at a Blue Earth meeting commented not so long ago, “I read about what was going on at the meetings, but I wanted to come and see for myself what they were up to.”

“Besides, it is a better show, with more drama and comedy, than what is on television in the summer,” they said with a smile.

Interest in local governments has been on the rise, for sure. You don’t have to look far to see proof of it.

In Blue Earth, there are four seats (out of seven) on the council which are up for election this coming November.

And, all four have at least two people who have filed and want to serve.

I will have to wait until January to see if there will be a change in what happens at council meetings. Hopefully, there will be a change for the good.