GLASGOW – The only city officials seated on the dais for Thursday’s special-called meeting of the Glasgow Common Council were the mayor, city attorney and city clerk.
The 11 of 12 council members who “attended” did so via computer screens with a videoconferencing application. Councilman Joe Trigg was absent.
Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting was cancelled to allow a few extra days for everything to get situated to be able to do it that way, Mayor Harold Armstrong told the Glasgow Daily Times. Though they probably could have arranged everyone to where they would be at least six feet apart to meet one recommendation to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, then they would have had more than 10 people at the gathering, which would not be in compliance with other mandates in the disease-control effort, he said.
During the meeting, the council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution to reduce the number of council meetings each month to one. It usually meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month, but until the state of emergency that has been declared locally for the fight against the virus is lifted, it will only meet on the fourth Mondays. They will remain at 7 p.m. and will continue to be done via videoconference. Other than members of the media, the general public is not permitted to attend, to ensure fewer than 10 people are there. The meetings will still be broadcast live and replayed on Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s cable Channel 6, and a draft of the minutes is to be made available as soon as possible afterward via the city’s website. WCLU Radio typically also shows the meeting live on its Facebook page.
That puts the next meeting on April 27.
Also related to the virus issue, the mayor reiterated at the conclusion of the other business an announcement made last week that all city parks are closed with only the exception of Beaver Creek Park, because it has the walking path. Members of the public are asked to not use the playground equipment.
Councilman Patrick Gaunce asked that they consider allowing people at Weldon Park as well, because it also has a walking path, and some community members could access it that can’t make it out to the one along Beaver Trail.
Councilwoman Marna Kirkpatrick said a lot of people were at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday because the weather was so nice, and she suggested they have someone patrol it if they were going to keep it open.
After listening to their suggestions and making some comments of his own, the mayor said he would look into some options so they could try to find a happy medium, but he said he wasn’t sure having Parks and Recreation Department staff to stay there was feasible because they are busy mowing around this time.
The other main point of discussion during the meeting came up as the council was about to vote on the second reading of an ordinance changing the existing ordinance that pertains to mowing. The new version focuses more on the height of the grass rather than frequency of mowing residential lawns, and it also distinguishes separate rules for mowing hay.
The council has recently updated several other nuisance-related ordinances.
Councilman Wendell Honeycutt said he thought they should amend the mowing-related ordinance to make it so that a citizen complaint had to be received before a citation could be issued, the complainer should have to provide their valid name and address and the person receiving the citation should have the right to ask who filed the complaint.
Councilman Terry Bunnell asked whether they do that with similar types of code enforcement issues, and City Attorney Danny Basil said that information was not generally made available to the person in noncompliance.
He said this ordinance had come before the council before in January, and he thought it made it to a second reading at that point, but Gaunce had asked if input from the code enforcement board had been sought, and it had not. So they scheduled a meeting with that board and invited council members to provide their suggestions but none attended, so they tried to write into it some of the concerns they had raised. He asked Honeycutt whether he thought that rule ought to just be for the mowing ordinance or for all the other nuisances, and the councilman said, “I think it really ought to apply to all.”
Basil suggested that they go ahead and vote on the ordinance before them, “since it’s been thoroughly beat to death,” and he could then go back and make the requested change more across the board with the nuisance-related ordinances for them to later vote on separately. He said he would also vote with the Kentucky League of Cities to make sure it’s OK to make the complainant’s identity known.
Councilman Freddie Norris suggested they could try it the way it’s written for a while first and see how it goes.
Honeycutt essentially agreed to withdraw his motion to amend the ordinance, and the second reading of it as previously proposed was approved unanimously.
Other actions during the meeting, which were all unanimous, included:
• Second readings of ordinances approving the 2019 Comprehensive Plan for Barren County and making several budget amendments;
• Approval of two other resolutions which each authorized grant applications; and
• Approval of municipal orders reappointing Becky Barrick and Greg Harris to the Historic Preservation Committee.