The City Council meeting rolled out recognition for citizens by opening with a proclamation for AmeriCorps Week. Vancouver AmeriCorps volunteers work to improve education, public safety, health and the environment. The mayor also read a proclamation for breast reconstruction awareness or BRAVE Day. BRAVE stands for Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Victory Day. The reading designated Mar. 21 as the official awareness day to highligh patients’ rights when faced with a mastectomy.

Citizens ready for a chance to address city council.

Then councilmen Jack Burkman, Bart Hansen, Bill Turlay and Mayor Tim Leavitt performed a perfunctory vote on the 2011 Sanitary Sewer General Plan Update.

Sewer systems are part of basic services provided by government and Vancouver has done a good job of providing what City Manager Eric Holmes described in a report as a “legacy of effective sewer collection.”

At the moment the city is satisfied with the system and system management, and has taken on the laudable goal of minimizing financial impacts to existing and new ratepayers, shifting part of the burden to private developers to fund and build certain items.

The ordinance includes a budget for asset replacement to insure that sufficient funds will be available without the need for debt financing – or rate increases. Although, that doesn’t mean zero rate hikes. Should operations and maintenance costs increase – or inflation rise – taxpayers can expect to make up the difference.

Once the vote concluded the meeting took on a different character.

The mayor may have proclaimed “BRAVE Day,” but the bravest this evening were the citizens who signed up to address the council, a privilege restricted to only the first and third Mondays of each month.

The majority of those who spoke pitched criticism at the council about the failure of the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail Tolling (CRC) to do anything except spend taxpayer dollars and exhibit ineptitude. Freshman councilmember Bill Turlay made it clear he is not in favor of light rail. His fellow councilmen, on the other hand, lobbed mostly condescending comments at the vocal, sometimes vehement citizens in defense of the CRC.

The lone voice that spoke in favor of the CRC, Identity Clark County Executive Director Paul Montague, emptied the room.

More on tonight’s meeting coming soon.