Chestnut Street discussion deferred until next month by David Lias Chestnut Street was scheduled to receive further attention from the Vermillion City Council Monday.
But the absence of two council members prompted Mayor Roger Kozak to ask that the topic appear on a future meeting agenda so that all aldermen could participate in the discussion.
The council eventually agreed, but that consensus didn't come before a harsh exchange between Lynette Melby, one of the property owners along the street, and the mayor.
Alderman Drake Olson was stuck in Minneapolis, waiting for a flight home Monday. Alderman Gary Wright informed Kozak that he was ill and would not be attending the council meeting.
Kozak noted that a couple of weeks ago the council delayed discussion on Crawford Road because two council members couldn't be present at the meeting.
The mayor suggested that the council show the same courtesy to Olson and Wright by placing Chestnut Street on the agenda of its April 1 meeting.
"I guess I will make that motion because I was one of the council members that got it deferred before," said Alderman Jere Chapman.
Chapman noted that there is a point where the council shouldn't delay discussion on the topic any longer. For example, he said, action could be deferred once again if not all of the aldermen were present April 1.
"But after that, it has to go forward," he said. "There has to be a point in time when we can't keep deferring things."
Melby told the council that her family would be out-of-town for the Easter weekend, and wouldn't be back to Vermillion in time for the April 1 meeting.
"Is there a possibility of discussing it tonight without taking any action?" Melby asked.
"That will depend on a vote of the council," Kozak said. "Personally, I don't think that's fair to the members who are not present."
Melby asked if a special meeting could be held. "I have to be honest with you, Roger. There's an impression out there that you're trying to wait for the new council, hoping that some votes will change, and I think by holding a special meeting a week from tonight, that at least shows good faith."
"I certainly take exception to your accusation," Kozak said. "I did not even make the motion to defer this agenda item." He told Melby that he does not set the agenda of the council.
The council ultimately decided to place Chestnut Street on the April 1 agenda. If aldermen or property owners are absent that date, the topic would then be deferred to a special meeting date.