Sep. 14—GOOD HOPE — After being turned down at the Good Hope City Council's last two meetings, a resident again returned to the council to ask for a resolution asking businesses in the city to not implement a COVID-19 mandate — this time also adding requests for the city to ask the state to refuse to enforce any vaccine mandates and to end all unemployment and welfare program benefits.
During the council's Aug. 23 meeting, city resident Taylor Wisner asked the council to prohibit any of Good Hope's businesses from requiring vaccines, but was told by City Attorney Rita Nicholas that it is unconstitutional for a city to make that kind of prohibition on a business.
"There is no law that says an employer can not require a vaccination," she said.
Nicholas said residents should also be wary of asking the government to impose new rules on private businesses or telling employers how they should run their businesses.
"That's a slippery slope away from a democratic society," she said.
Wisner returned for Monday night's meeting, and requested that the city pass a non-binding resolution asking local businesses to not require COVID-19 vaccines for their employers. After the council took no action on that request, he also added a request for the city to ask the state to refuse to follow any COVID-19 mandates.
City Planner Corey Harbison said Gov. Kay Ivey has already pledged that the state will not follow President Joe Biden's recent mandate that businesses with more than 100 employees must require COVID-19 vaccines.
Wisner also asked the city to pass a resolution asking the state to end all unemployment benefits and welfare programs, citing his small business and the lack of workers that he has seen.
He said he knows that neither of his new requests fall under the purview of a city council, but he would like to see the council ask the state anyway.
Harbison said he and Mayor Jerry Bartlett met with Wisner earlier this afternoon and discussed the request to the state to end unemployment payments and welfare benefits like food stamps, and the three spoke to an attorney about the request.
He said the attorney told the group that the state is unable to simply end all of its unemployment payments because they still involve federal funding, and the attorney added that the state's unemployment rate of 3.5 percent and Cullman County's unemployment rate of 2.3 percent mean that there are not very many unemployed people in the state and there is no real reason to push the issue.
The council took no action on any of Wisner's requests.
In other business, the council adopted an ordinance that prohibits the building of a pharmacy within 1,000 feet of an existing pharmacy — unless divided by a four-lane highway. The ordinance would also prohibit the building of a manufactured home sales lot within 1.5 miles of an existing lot, or a fireworks store within 1.5 miles of an existing fireworks store.
Manufactured home lots and fireworks stores that are already located in the city are exempt from the ordinance as long as they maintain their business license.
The city already has similar ordinances already in place that put a distance limit on tattoo parlors and liquor stores within the city.
After the council's Aug. 23 meeting, Bartlett said the ordinance is meant to encourage different types of businesses to come into the city.
"We have 2,500 people and we have three fireworks stands and four mobile home lots," he said. "We don't need any more. We would like to have more diversity."