Home Uncategorized Vacating Citizen Participation
Uncategorized - September 24, 2018

Vacating Citizen Participation

Maintaining a spirit of transparency across all city departments

How does a major economic development proposal in St. Joseph, requiring the urgent and permanent closure of a street, not come to the attention of the citizens well before the developer delivers an ultimatum to the City at an August 23rd Planning Commission meeting stating in effect that unless the terms proposed to the City are met the sunset is October 30th?

Based upon information available from the City of St. Joseph website and the St. Joseph Economic Development Partnership website, the answer is “who knows?” Agendas and/or minutes are available via the City of St. Joseph website for the City Council meetings and work sessions, as well as various board, committee, authority and commission meetings.

Not included in the following list, however, is the “Economic Development Team” who according to the City of St. Joseph Website is “comprised of” city staff members from six departments and representatives from the St. Joseph Metro Chamber who meet to discuss current and prospective new development within St. Joseph. The goal of the ED Team is to review projects in a comprehensive manner and to ensure project time lines are met. The ED Team meets regularly at the staff level and with companies and developers on an individual basis as needed.”

The minutes of the August 23, 2018 Planning Commission Meeting reflect that Geoffrey Hirson “stated he met with the City in November of 2016 and explained what he wanted to do. At that time everyone was pretty much on board. Obviously necessary permits would need to be obtained. Facilities would be located is (sic) Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri, and California with St. Joseph being the first.”

Who in the “City” met with Mr. Hirson in 2016? Was it the “Economic Development Team” comprised of “city staff members from six departments,” or was it Chamber of Commerce staff and someone who said they represented the City? Tuning Fork has yet to hear from City Manager Bruce Woody for clarification on this matter.

The list of City of St. Joseph entities who DO share agendas and/or minutes via the City website:

  • City Council Meetings
  • Administrative Violation Review Board
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Board
  • Aviation Board
  • Building and Fire Prevention Code Board of Appeals
  • City Council Work Sessions
  • Community Police Advisory Committee
  • Downtown Review Board
  • Electrical Standards and Appeals Board
  • Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board
  • Housing Authority
  • Industrial Development Authority
  • Landmark Commission
  • Library Board
  • Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Citizen’s Crime Advisory Committee
  • Mechanical Standards and Appeals Board
  • Museum Oversight Board
  • Operating Engineers Board
  • Parks and Recreation Board
  • Personnel Board
  • Planning Commission
  • Plumber’s Examining and Appeals Board
  • Police Pension Board
  • Port Authority
  • Senior Citizen Foundation, Inc. Board
  • Social Welfare Board of Buchanan County
  • Tax Increment Financing Commission of St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Tourism Commission
  • Traffic Commission
  • Tree Board
  • Zoning Board of Adjustment

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