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Slip of tongue passes motion for funding

A slip of the tongue pushed through a motion for $1.8 million in water improvement project funding at Tuesday's regular meeting of the City Council.

Councilman-at-large A.J. Dolce made it clear he would not support the resolution because he wanted more information on how the project would be funded. The other three council members all favored the idea and wanted to proceed.

When the time came to vote Tuesday, Dolce surprised everyone by voting "Aye" before pounding the gavel and quickly trying to rewind the moment with a "nay" vote. City Attorney Michael Cerrie said he could not change his vote without board approval. Some tense moments followed while City Clerk Tom Mleczko went to find a book of Roberts Rules of Order.

After consulting the book, the attorney stood on his opinion that the members of the council would need to authorize a revote on the motion.

Dolce asked the council for the motion to revote. Councilwoman Stacy Szukala made the motion, but the silence from Councilmen Michael Michalski and Kevin Muldowney let the motion die.

"All I can say is wow," Dolce said. "I have been here eight years, and we have always given council members the chance to revote."

"I did not want to win [the motion] this way, but I don't think your arguments against it were strong enough," Muldowney said.

A bond resolution requires two-thirds approval from council members, and with the absence Tuesday of Councilwoman Rose Floramo, all four members were required to vote in favor of the motion to approve it.

Dolce got his point in on an earlier bond resolution for $3.45 million for reconstructing the city's sea wall along Lake Front Boulevard. He voted against that resolution, while all the other council members voted in favor of bonding the project. Dolce said he would consider the issue for a special meeting.

The water improvement project includes some improvements that are being mandated by health department officials. The project will include new lines in several areas.

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