Shelbyville City Council took care of routine business with the addition of a new employee and a new police vehicle. They also started talking dope.
The evening started early with a public meeting on the $25 million Appropriations Ordinance. Mayor Jeff Johnson asked for public comments and the only reply was crickets. People talked among themselves for almost 15 minutes and Mayor Johnson asked again for public comments. There were none and he adjourned that meeting and called the regular city council meeting to order.
All commissioners and the mayor were present, except for Thom Schafer. After the obligatories, the commissioners unanimously approved the Appropriations Ordinance.
Mayor Johnson moved to appoint Sara Reber as Deputy City Clerk. It was unanimously approved. Additionally, Mayor Johnson moved that the new signatories on the bank accounts be approved. They include: Mayor Johnson, Commissioner Debe Wright, City Clerk Rachel Wallace, and Deputy City Clerk Sara Reber. It was unanimously approved.
Item 7 was a request to purchase a police vehicle. Public Safety Commissioner Martha Firnhaber reported that the previous vehicle were provided as a fleet and that there is a need to begin rotating in new vehicles one at a time. The first vehicle to be replaced will cost about $37,000. Police Chief Dave Tallman said that is just for the bare car. The council approved the request unanimously, 4-0.
There was a request to approve an ordinance updating the City Code's Building Requirements. The State changed their requirements, so the city needs to update their minimum building code to reflect that. The council approved that 4-0.
The 4th of July is coming up, so there was a request from the Chamber of Commerce for contributions to the fireworks display. Mayor Jeff Johnson said that last year the city gave $5,000 towards the fireworks. Commissioner Firnhaber remarked that was customary amount for the last few years. Commissioner Mark Shanks that it was one of the largest turnouts in the community. He made a motion to give $5,000 for fireworks. It passed 4-0.
Coincidentally, item 13 was a discussion about recreational marijuana. Commissioner Firnhaber said she put it on the agenda because she wanted to "start the conversation" now, instead of waiting until the council has to make a decision.
The state legislation does include a provision for local communities to opt out of allowing businesses to sell legal marijuana without losing their ability to receive tax proceeds from the cannabis sales. Local municipalities also will be able to set up zoning rules to govern the time, place, manner and number of marijuana establishment operations
"If a community prohibits dispensing marijuana they have to do it within a year," Firnhaber said. "Does that have to be by referendum?"
City attorney Jack Kiley said, "I will have to check the statute and see hit it specifies that."
Firnhaber wondered how it affects the city that marijuana is not legal federally.
"There will be a lot to look at," Kiley said.
The new state law takes effect Jan. 1 and would allow residents age 21 and older to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis. It would also create a licensed cultivation and dispensary system while directing the governor to pardon people with past convictions for low-level pot possession.
In other business, Mark Shanks said the Parks Department is still looking for a bucket truck. He also said there should be a report back on the Chautauqua Building and recommendations from the wood structure company, Trilium Dell.
"They said they are not quite finished," said Shanks. "We will also try again to get together with the Senior Center on those fiscal questions before the next meeting."
He also announced that two disability swings were put in at the park and that Yolanda Nation led that effort.