Republican Brunswick City Ward 3 Councilman Joe Delsanter has proposed that two of the three Brunswick City Council-at-Large be eliminated. His rationale is that this would save about $22,000 to $24.000 per year. This, of course, is a mere drop in the bucket for a city that has been operating with a deficit since 2001.
This proposal would involve amending the charter of the city of Brunswick. If this proposal were to come to fruition, it would necessitate a charter amendment on the ballot. The deadline set by the Secretary of State for the upcoming May 5th election is February 19th. This would give council sixteen days to complete this action in order to effectuate change this year.
Currently, the city of Brunswick has four ward councilmen and three at-large councilmen. The At-Large Council members represent the entire city, not just a ward. They provide a sort of checks and balance system within the council.
Some cities of similar size, i.e. Westerville, Oh, have a city council comprised of seven at-large members. A council of all at-large members ( perhaps five?) would be a more logical alternative than to eliminate two of the three at-large positions and keep the ward council members. The people of Brunswick would continue to be fully represented. Presently, if your ward councilman is not responsive, you still have the at-large council members. Of course, this would also necessitate a charter amendment.
Is Republican Mr. Delsanter’s stance a knee-jerk reaction to the city’s budget problems? Why hasn’t council done more cost cutting in the past? Is this a myopic glance at the overall budget deficit picture?
Or is his proposal an attempt to eliminate some people who just aren’t “on the same page” as Republican Mr. Delsanter? His proposed change would make life a lot easier for a city council that seems to be constantly embroiled in battles. Is he afraid of the outcome of the 2009 election? It appears that there is more to this proposal than he wants us to believe.