Sustained Outrage

Charleston City Council meets Monday evening, as it does twice each month, rain or shine.

Mayor Danny Jones presides over these meetings, from the raised platform at the far end of the formal council chambers on the third floor of City Hall. Whether you like Danny or not, he rules the meetings with a certain style.

But council meetings can be a little dull, as most items on the agenda are voted upon with little or no discussion, let alone actual debate.

To see the wheels of city government really turn, plan to arrive an hour earlier, at 6 p.m., for the meeting of what my colleague Rusty Marks likes to call the powerful Finance Committee.

And Rusty is right, for Finance members hold the city’s purse strings. Just about any matter that has a price tag attached to it goes through this committee. On the agenda for Monday, for example, you’ll see two costly bridge repairs: A $1.56 million rehabilitation agreement for the South Side Bridge; and about $400,000 to fix the Kanawha Boulevard bridge over the Elk River. The second project will close the bridge for a good part of the summer starting around Memorial Day.

The Finance Committee meets in the AV conference room, adjacent to council chambers.  City Council begins at 7 p.m. Both meetings, as usual, are open to the public, but opportunities for the public to speak are limited. There is a brief public comment period at the start of each council meeting, but you must sign up in order to speak.