Road talk can wait, council agrees

Road presentations will be held after York County Council meetings as County Manager Jim Baker suggested, but they'll be recorded and televised.

The council voted unanimously to make informal presentations on "Pennies for Progress" road improvements in a workshop format after council meetings and record them to be televised.

"I don't think the public should be deprived of anything we do here from pledge of allegiance until we're adjourned," said Councilman Curwood Chappell. "It doesn't seem like that's what we're doing."

Baker previously said he didn't want to limit public access when he suggested moving the presentations to after the meetings and not televising them. He's since suggested continuing to record them and moving cameras around to better show the road diagrams.

A concern with televising the presentations live, Councilman Tom Smith reiterated, is that a property owner sitting at home might see a road go through his property and assume by the conversation it's a done deal.

"It's not fair to see someone's farm being cut in half on TV for the first time," Smith said. "We're not trying to hide anything. I'd like a chance to make sure people have been talked to before seeing it on TV."

Baker's suggestion to move the informative sessions to after council meetings sprung from controversy over the intersection of Porter and Firetower roads. That discussion spanned three years and resulted in a what critics called an obsolete design for the Y-shaped intersection.

"These weren't part of the council meetings initially. They were brought into council meetings as a matter of convenience," Baker said. "These are for advance information, not us endorsing a road or a road change."

Before agreeing to move the presentations, Councilman Joe Cox wanted to ensure just the information -- not discussing money or voting on the intersections - would be moved after the meeting.

Councilman Rick Lee said council meetings should be about zoning, money and public policy, not turning council members into engineers. Smith added that sometimes engineers don't see things they do.

"We're trying to help, not hide something," Smith said. "Sometimes engineers just do what they were assigned to do. On a rare occasion we might be able to help to some degree."

Kimberly Dick • 329-4082