Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Dallas looks to reform “generous” bulk trash rules … Tenn. vice mayor charged in food stamp conspiracy … and a Maine town warns of caterpillar hazard.
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention ...
- Salem, Oregon: Certain residents in Oregon’s capital and neighboring communities remain under a drinking water advisory that came after the discovery of cyanotoxins from algae blooms in Detroit Lake, a reservoir used by the city for its water supply. While algae blooms are not uncommon in the lake, it’s the first time the level of harmful cyanotoxins has been high enough to warrant such an advisory. Sensitive populations, including young children, people on dialysis, pregnant or nursing women, the elderly and pets were have been advised to not drink tap water until the situation is resolved. An investigation into the cause of the algae bloom is underway. [The Oregonian / OregonLive.com; Oregon Public Broadcasting]
- Dallas, Texas: Bulk trash collection offerings in Dallas are "significantly more generous" than they are in other Texas jurisdictions, which is prompting city officials to figure out ways to pare back that service in order “to reduce waste and strain on sanitation services.” Dallas collects three times as much bulk and waste per household compared to Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Seattle, Washington: A poll of likely voters in Seattle conducted in March shows residents are “not only deeply dissatisfied with how the Seattle City Council has addressed homelessness, but also less willing than they used to be to sign off on new taxes to address the problem.” Moreover, it’s “the first time anyone can recall the usually generous Seattle voters being overwhelmingly skeptical of additional taxation.” The poll was commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and its political advocacy arm, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy. [Crosscut]
- Albany, New York: Nearly five years since “the most high-profile First Amendment legal battle in the history of Capital Region cuisine” started, a food truck once banned from Empire State Plaza is operating there again. Andrea Loguidice, who owns and operates The Wandering Dago, “has insisted its moniker was intended as nothing more than a tribute to her ancestors, laborers who were paid ‘as the day goes.’” Gov. Andrew Cuomo complained that the name was "obviously offensive" to Italian-Americans like himself. Now, after a lengthy legal dispute, The Wandering Dago will be “in view of Cuomo's office on the south side of the Capitol.” [Times Union]
- LaFollette, Tennessee: The vice mayor of this small Appalachian city in Campbell County on Wednesday was among three people charged with an alleged conspiracy over food stamp benefits. The county sheriff said that undercover officers when into The Pop Shop, “asked the staff what items they wanted to be purchased with EBT cards, and returned to the store to sell those items—typically soft drinks—for cash.” [Knoxville News Sentinel / KnoxNews.com]
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: When they were introduced 2013 as a new gambling option in the state, Pennsylvania officials forecasted that 2,000 businesses would seek tavern gaming licenses. As of last month, only 51 establishments in Pennsylvania have licenses for pull tabs, daily drawings and raffles. Not unexpectedly, state revenue from tavern gaming has been meager—only $1.44 million in tax revenue in 2017. Nearly $94 million in revenue had been originally anticipated. [The Patriot-News / PennLive.com]
- Richland County, South Carolina: A private citizen is suing the Richland County Council and the former county administrator over the $1 million settlement council members recently approved after they fired the administrator, Gerald Seals. The man bringing the new suit, William Coggins, says the agreement was improperly approved and is excessive: “Why did he get paid so much money when I don't think he was entitled to it?" [The State]
- Blue Hill, Maine: An area of this Down East Maine town has been overwhelmed by hungry caterpillars. The critters have “created such a hazard that state officials have placed an electronic sign in the area and posted a statewide traffic advisory warning motorists to go slow in the slippery conditions lest they have an accident.” [Bangor Daily News]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.