Indianola’s streets are crumbling.
There are literally thousands of gallons of water bubbling up from the cracks due to leaks beneath the pavement.
A citizen even put a plant in a giant pothole in front of her home last week, which bloomed a day later thanks to a leak, but ironically, it was crushed by a waste management truck 24 hours later. To the city’s credit, that hole and leak were both repaired. At least for now.
We know these problems have been ongoing, and they’re not all the fault of the city fathers.
Many of these issues can’t be permanently fixed until we are able to afford to move and repair a lot of the underground infrastructure that lie beneath the streets.
No matter how financially strapped the city might be, it does not give our elected leaders a pass when it comes to their actions.
A few weeks ago, the city board cast a majority vote in favor of an insurance plan for its workers.
It wasn’t the plan Mayor Steve Rosenthal wanted for the city, but it’s the plan the board decided on.
But in true Indianola fashion, the issue of the city’s health insurance plan is still a hot topic, a month after the issue was supposedly settled.
Monday before last, the board met for its regular session.
Alderman Marvin Elder had requested prior to the meeting that Collier Insurance be added to the agenda.
Collier, you may recall, promised to go to the open market and get Indianola big savings on its employee health insurance.
Apparently that request had been denied, and when the board voted 3-0 to add it to the agenda, the mayor vetoed it on the spot, prompting Elder and Aldermen Ruben Woods and Sam Brock to leave the meeting after just five minutes and 42 seconds.
This meant that every other item on the night’s agenda was neglected.
Rosenthal’s reason for vetoing the decision was due to the fact that the representative from Collier had not followed the city’s protocol by running his proposal by the city’s paid consultant before the meeting.
The previous week, three aldermen showed up to a rare in-person meeting at the City Hall annex building to hear from Collier Insurance representative Hunter Hollingsworth.
The mayor and two aldermen were not present at that meeting, and since one of the aldermen (Woods) present had to preside as vice-mayor, the board was able to hear from Hollingsworth, but they could not vote on his proposed plan, nor to hire him as the city’s insurance broker.
On Friday, a special call meeting was posted with a full agenda, which included a presentation from the Collier rep.
This time, the mayor and Aldermen Gary Fratesi and Darrell Simpson showed up, but Elder, Woods and Brock did not.
Tuesday night, this week, the same thing happened. The mayor called a meeting, and Fratesi was the lone alderman on the Zoom call.
These games have to stop.
Basic city business is being neglected because six grown men cannot sit in a glorified chatroom together for more than five minutes.
Did they ever stop to think about the other people who carved out time away from their families to attend these sorry excuses for public meetings? It’s not likely.
It’s time to settle this insurance issue once and for all.
Let the chips fall where they fall.
At the current pace, the College Avenue bridge is going to be complete, and the entire town will be vaccinated from COVID before they get this insurance business out of the way.
The city has other business to tend to.
There is still a global pandemic going on. There’s deteriorating infrastructure. There’s the upcoming budget year.
All of these topics have the potential to cause hours of agonizing arguments between our aldermen and mayor.
So, let’s get to them already.
In normal circumstances, citizens would be angry if their elected officials were phoning it in, but that’s all we’re asking our mayor and board to do right now. Just jump on the call.
Give the people some leadership in a time when they need it most.