The Webster City City Council will meet in live session later this month, the first time since March. The council has been meeting via Zoom video conferencing and the meetings have been broadcast on Facebook Live the past two months.
The council discussed the matter at length during Monday night’s meeting. City Clerk Karyl Bonjour told the council members she will map out a safe plan for seating.
The decision came on the same day that City Hall reopened to the public — by appointment only. The one question about the live meetings was related to whether the public would be allowed to attend.
“Don’t we have to leave it open to the public,” asked Councilman Brian Miller.
Bonjour said that as along Zoom, Facebook Live access or by calling in were available, that would allow the public to attend the meeting. There was some question as to how many could be in attendance and still practice social distancing.
“Why is it that we don’t want City Hall to fully open up,” Mayor John Hawkins asked.
Sheridan said there were safety concerns for staff members who would have close contact with members of the public if the facility was fully open.
“I don’t see the necessity of opening up City Hall, because that’s traffic that then has to be sanitized with people coming and going,” Councilman Logan Welch said. “To be honest, a little bit of a hybrid of a digital interface and remote access is kind of going to be the way moving forward.
“I don’t really see an urgency to fully open up,” Welch said. He added that as long as there wasn’t an uproar from the public, that he would prefer to keep the meetings streamed.
Bonjour said she would send a notice to the council members once the room is mapped out to determine how many members of the public could be allowed into the council chambers, based on 50 percent capacity.
City Manager Jeff Sheridan also told the council that city is moving ahead with the banners to honor the 2020 Webster City High School graduates.
He said banners featuring a photo of each graduate would be placed on utility poles around the community. Sheridan said he believed the school district was able to find photos for nearly all of the seniors.
Graduation in Webster City is tentatively set for June 28 at the Webster City High School. Sheridan said the banners would be going up before graduation.
“I think this is a great way to honor the class of 2020,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan also said that the city summer activity, including youth baseball and softball leagues, adult co-ed softball and adult sand volleyball will be canceled.
“We just don’t know of a safe way to conduct those (activities),” he said.
The city staff is still reviewing whether to open the outdoor swimming pool for the summer. Sheridan said the city is checking with other Iowa communities to see how they are handling the matter. About 44 have opted to not open municipal pools, while 22 will open for business. About 19 communities on the list have not yet made a decision.
Sheridan said the city would decide on opening the pool by Friday or Monday at the latest.
In other business, the council held a public hearing on the proposed sale of city property. With no oral or written objections, the council approved a quit claim deed for the property at 207 Dubuque St. to John Harper. Harper presented the high bid of $3,750.
The city demolished a home on the parcel last year.
Appointments to several city boards and committees were approved. Chris Kehoe was reappointed to a four-year term on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Gary Groves and Lindsay McCormick Welch were reappointed to the Wilson Brewer Historic Park Committee for another four years. Harlan Balsley was reappointed to a four-year term on the Traffic Study Committee.
View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.
Last modified: June 2, 2020