Monroe council to resume in-person meetings despite some concerns

While some Monroe City Council members continue to have coronavirus concerns, they will resume in-person meetings in the council chamber at the Monroe City Building.

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“Live meetings are happening in other communities,” Councilman Robert Routson said. “We have more followers than some TV shows. It’s time to be back in chambers and hear what people have to say (in-person).”

“I am not feeling comfortable with this and I have concerns,” said Councilwoman Christina McElfresh. “I have an underlying health condition.”

She encouraged council to continue broadcasting meetings. Mayor Jason Frentzel said as before, the council chamber’s surfaces will be sanitized and members will maintain social distancing and will wear masks during the meeting.

No start date was identified by council to resume in-person meetings.

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Law Director Phil Callahan said the city’s Mayor’s Court resumed its sessions in the chambers about two months ago. He said people would wait in the vestibule or in their cars until their case was called. Callahan said after someone left the chambers, a bailiff would sanitize that seat.

Council also unanimously approved to continue live-streaming their meetings.

In other business, council approved:

  • An emergency resolution on what COVID-19 expenses it will use the $269,169 CARES Act award that the city received. The city has until Oct. 15 to use the funding.
  • The purchase of $3,600 for new tax software due to COVID-19.
  • A change order for W.G. Stang, LLC for an ADA-compliant concrete ramp replacement on Salzman Road. The cost for the additional work is $16,309.
  • A $7,510 change order with John R. Jurgensen Company for additional work for new signage and pavement markings on Salzman Road. Jurgensen has the city’s 2020 paving contract.
  • Authorizing the city manager to enter an $18,700 professional engineering services contract with Fishbeck to perform a risk and resiliency assessment for the city’s water system. The assessment reviews the different threats to the city water system such as intentional contamination, cyber security and other threats. This is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the city needs to file the assessment by June 30, 2021.
  • Accepting the annual tax budget that was approved by the Butler County Tax Commission. The tax budget is reviewed and certified to give the city an estimated amount of tax revenues and tax rates for the coming year. For 2021, the city’s general fund is projected to see a $10,000 increase; the police levy is projected to increase $5,000; and the fire levies are projected to see a $15,000 increase.

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