The discussion over the Capital Program was lengthy and seemingly unproductive.
At first, Democrat Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan walked through most of the 29 items on the list and asked for some clarification of the project, the funding source or asked if they were necessary at all (that tended to be asked of Republican Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco).
All of that was to be expected as the Council was poised to adopt the program, but the conversation soon devolved into an argument over what passing the Capital Program actually means.
"This is a bigger, more philosophical discussion here. It's not just about these projects," Madigan said at one point during the discussion. That conversation, in substance, is outlined in this article, though I may update it today with some comment from the Commissioners.
It was, in fact, the same conversation they had last budget cycle.
At the same time, Scirocco accused Madigan of playing politics when she said she is "not coming out with a tax rate that overrides the tax cap. I will make this tax rate low and flat."
"Commissioner Madigan, that's a wonderful political speech," Scirocco said.
"That's right it is and you're going to be responsible for a higher tax rate" if Scirocco got his way, she shot back.
Madigan wasn't the only one to go after Scirocco, either.
While she and Scirocco were going through his capital requests (which Madigan hinted may be cut to lower the tax rate and Scirocco insisted were "necessary to public health and safety") his opponent for the job, Bill McTygue, was sitting in the peanut gallery.
"WRONG!" he kept — well, not shouting, but grumbling loud enough for everyone to hear.
Scirocco, for his part, started playing into the "conversation," saying "Bog meadow is an alternative to the Saratoga Lake Project, which would have cost $20 million. This one is $1 million, right?" asking City Engineer Tim Wales who was there to explain the capital projects.
Scirocco: "These infrastructure projects are necessary. They were neglected for years and years and years," saying they should have been taken care of by the previous, McTygue administration (which Bill McTygue was integral in).
Madigan, Scirocco and eventually Mayor Scott Johnson all said they would rather not have the comments.
"I just can't take the lies," McTygue told the mayor, who said he would have him removed if he couldn't keep quiet.
"Are you ordering me out of the room?" he asked.
"I will if you keep commenting," the mayor said.
"Go ahead," McTygue responded.
The mayor said he should leave, but McTygue didn't move, but also didn't talk for the rest of the meeting (that I saw).