The stage is set for a long — and probably, at times contentious — year for members of the Anderson City Council.
With all nine council seats and the mayor’s office on the 2023 ballot, political grandstanding could be the order of the day.
Republican councilman Jon Bell and fellow GOP member Jennifer Culp cast votes this week to allow Democrat Rebecca Crumes to serve a second term as council president.
A majority of the Democrats on the council were poised to make Rick Muir the council president, but the outcome rested squarely in the hands of Bell and Culp.
It was the vote of the two Republicans that brought Crumes a second term as leader of the council.
Undoubtedly by voting for Crumes, Bell, who is seeking the GOP nomination for mayor against Carol Miller, could hope to shore up some support in the west side community for the November mayoral campaign.
There has been speculation for several months that Bell has been working on a deal with leaders in the Black community to assist with the mayoral campaign.
Four years ago, there was a reported agreement that with Rick Gardner running for mayor against Broderick, the local GOP wouldn’t run candidates for the at-large seats on the council in return for support of Gardner.
At the council’s first meeting of the year, the room was packed with residents from both inside and outside the city to raise the Bingham Square issue.
For most of the past year, local residents have been calling for more transparency in city and Madison County government.
That is commendable, but it has to work both ways.
While several people complained to the council that residents in the two apartment complexes owned by Property Resource Associates had no water or heat, that was not the entire picture.
Earlier in the day, one of the people complaining about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the apartments learned from the county health department that repairs were being made.
It should also be noted that none of the council members contacted the Health Department, which had received several complaints in the past, about the status of those complaints.
There appears to be two glaring mistakes.
First, none of the elected officials tried to determine if any of the needed repairs were being made at the apartments.
Secondly, the citizens wanting transparency in government, didn’t divulge the information they obtained prior to the meeting.
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