Last night’s Highland Park Town Council meeting was historic. For the first time, the council had so much business to attend to that many issues were put on a consent agenda.
For those of you don’t frequent municipal meetings, a consent agenda allows a council (or school board or commission) to sign off on several issues at once with a single vote and minimal discussion. The items on Highland Park’s first consent agenda ranged from an agreement with the county for restaurant inspections to the combination of 3500 Beverly and 3508 Beverly into one building site. During this portion of the meeting, the council also approved a resolution supporting SMU’s plans to build athletic facilities on the former Mrs Baird’s property, despite environmental concerns about the site.
The thing is, the main agenda didn’t take much longer to approve than the consent agenda.
The main agenda contained seven items, including votes on maintaining the municipal tax rate and raising water fees. There was virtually no discussion, and the motions to approve each item came from council member Larry Nixon, with each “second” coming from Steve Rogers. After a few items, Nixon got in a brief staring contest with the council members on the other side of the room — Andrew Barr and Will Beecherl — to see if they wanted to get involved. But Nixon caved and gave the motion to approve anyway, eliciting laughter in the chambers.
“These pauses are hard on my heart,” said Bill Pollock, the town official presenting each item to the council.
The burden fell to Nixon because the council member who is usually most eager to put forward a motion, Gail Madden, was absent Monday.
“Maybe we need Gail here,” Mayor Bill Seay joked. “These timid guys …”