Berea inches towards in-person meetings

Taylor Six, Richmond Register, Ky.
·3 min read

Apr. 8—The initial approval for the return of in-person meetings was granted after the Berea City Council voted to approve Ordinance 11-2021.

This document allows in-person meetings to resume for all Berea boards, councils, and committees — but with some guidelines such as limiting the number of people, social distancing guidelines, and determining the public's interest as to host the meeting in-person or virtually depending on health standards.

According to Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley, it gives the city the option, but does not require that in-person meetings resume immediately.

"The approval of this ordinance would allow us to go back in-person, but does not require that they go back," Fraley said via Zoom on Tuesday.

Council member John Payne asked the mayor if he had a time table of when in-person would return.

Fraley stated idealistically, he would envision the first in-person, council meeting taking place around the first meeting in May.

"We hope for sometime in May depending on the continued availability of the vaccine and who has it," he said.

According to both Fraley and David Gregory, the city's administrator, when council members return to chambers, they will be spread apart and partitions will be installed between them for safety.

While not specifics are set in stone, many of the members of council appreciated the efforts to move to some sense of normalcy in city government.

"I know that is an important move forward to the definition of normalcy, but I want to make sure we are still setting good examples for the community at large," said Payne. "I am glad that you guys are really putting things to task."

Council members Steve Caudill and Teresa Scenters, agreed.

"I am looking forward to getting back," Caudill said. "These meetings have been fine to get work done, but things are just so much more productive when you can look everyone in the eye."

The second reading will take place at a special called meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will broadcast live on the city's Facebook page.

Other business:

—One bid was received for the Roberts Filter and Aqua Daf integration upgrade at the Water Treatment Plant. This bid was from Rawdon Myers Inc. of Milford, Ohio in the amount of $54,401. It was referred to the utility department for recommendation to be given at the next meeting.

—Approval was granted to the mayor to apply for a $200,000 CDBG Grant to assist residents to pay for delinquent utility bills because of pandemic economic challenges.

—Ordinance 07-2021 was approved in the first reading for expectations regarding sanitation and restraint of dogs in the city's upcoming dog park. The ordinance strikes the former language and adds new wording to make these topics more clear.

—Telecommunications franchise agreements were approved for Windstream, Spectrum, and Metronet in the city of Berea.

—Council member Jerry Little led a discussion regarding tree trimming, and said he would like to see the city set aside funds to help complete this task. A work session meeting will be planned to discuss this topic further.

The next Berea City Council meeting is scheduled for April 20 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live on the city's Facebook page.