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Not so special without council

Belleville aldermen knew for weeks that they were supposed to meet Monday to take another step toward creating a TIF for the development at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. So it was a shock to see the meeting canceled hours before the scheduled start, with the stated reason that not enough aldermen would be attending to have a quorum. The meeting was rescheduled for tonight.

It’s difficult to imagine that not even nine out of 16 aldermen could make it to a meeting about the city’s premier economic development project. Did the aldermen forget this was coming up? City Clerk Dallas Cook said no one mentioned the special council meeting at the regular meeting on March 16, and Mayor Mark Eckert didn’t notify the clerk’s office until Friday to send out an agenda.

Whatever the reason, canceling a meeting looks bad. It also created duplicate work for the city. Cook’s office prepared a packet that police officers had to deliver to the aldermen on Friday. If any deliveries didn’t get completed that day, other city workers were paid time and a half to make them. Then the city had to repeat the process all over again for tonight’s meeting.

Was a special meeting even necessary? The council regularly meets twice a month. Waiting for one of those meeting might delay a vote a week or so, but it’s a pretty safe bet that enough aldermen are going to show up to be able to conduct business.

Let’s see if a majority of aldermen show up tonight.