New councilmember thrusts his oar in the water to change the course of the city’s ship of state?

Hike up your waders, Homer, this ain’t your grandfather’s city council anymore.

Why even grumbly old Jim McCarthy, who regularly rails against his perceived foibles of city leaders and staff, stepped right up to the podium and praised the change of atmosphere at City Hall with the newly elected council.

From the dais Councilmember Patrick Parrish is asking questions that probably no councilmember has ever asked before. His was the lone no vote in response to a request from Local Area Revitalization Project regarding the city picking up the $4,498  tab for the costs incurred by the city for the popular Farmer’s Market ($2,448.30 for public works staff time, $804 for police department staff time and $1,245.66 for public works equipment).

Parrish asked if the city sponsored the Farmer’s Market, and Public Works Director Bob Godman said no, the Farmer’s Market is a LARP event.

Parrish then asked — since this is a private event, should the city’s taxpayers be responsible for the cost?

City Administrator Dan Newton said the event is open to the public and there is a benefit to the city, city residents and Uptown businesses as well as a responsibility to protect the safety of the public. He also said the city’s share of the sales tax generated by the Farmer’s Market would not cover the city’s costs.

Councilmember Curtis Bortle said the public benefits from other street closures such as Magical Country Christmas and the recent Little League Parade, and he favored the city continuing that practice with the Farmer’s Market.

Parrish acknowledged the public benefit of these events, but he said at some point the city has to be fiscally responsible.

“Can they pay half? Can they pay something?” Parrish asked. “When does the city say enough is enough when giving out money?”

“I will say Patrick brings up a good point, and I never thought of it,” said Mayor Mendy Shuster. “LARP is a business, and the other ones are nonprofits.”

Councilmember Dawn Miller said the city doesn’t close the streets “willy-nilly” and it has been supporting many of these events for many years. She thought these events bring the community together.

Parrish said he understood all that, but he asked, “Do the residents of Susanville bear the financial responsibility for all of these events? This is taxpayer money.”

And he wondered if the city should ask those requesting street closures to “have some skin in the game?”

But that’s not the end of it.

Another of Parrish’s concerns comes up for the council’s consideration at Wednesday’s City Council meeting at City Hall — what about all the proclamations made by the city?

Stay tuned.