London council meeting goes on despite technical glitches

(Posted May 14, 2020)

By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer

London city council had difficulties going public with its meeting on May 7, its third meeting using the Zoom video conferencing tool since the establishment of social distancing practices. The live broadcast failed to make it to the city’s official Facebook page, and the recording was not posted after the meeting.

Council President Henry Comer cited technical difficulties for the video’s absence.

“It was something we were forced into doing because of the circumstances of COVID-19,” Comer said about the virtual meeting format. “And with not everyone being necessarily tech savvy, these things can happen.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will take place in person at city hall, assuming no more stay-at-home orders from the state, Comer said.

Despite the technical difficulties, the meeting continued as scheduled. Of the three pieces of legislation appearing on the agenda, only one passed. The other two were left on for clarification and second readings.

Council passed on emergency a resolution authorizing the police department to spend $262.20 donated by the London Rotary Club to purchase an ozone generator. The device purifies, cleans and sterilizes air and surfaces contained in small areas. The department plans to use it for its squad cars.

“We are grateful for the donation,” said Police Chief Glenn Nicol. “The ozone generator will help maintain a safe and practicable environment for our members and is much appreciated.”

Council considered a resolution requiring all contractors–meaning any person, firm or corporation that builds, constructs, repairs, replaces, remodels, alters or otherwise improves any land or building as a business for profit in the city–to register with the city before beginning any work. Council did not take action on the resolution and will instead seek clarifications.

Council member Josh Peters questioned the definition of contractor. Would a kid mowing lawns weekly for a neighbor constitute a contractor under this definition?

The question of enforcement also was brought up.  London’s code enforcement officer only works part-time, Comer noted.

Similarly, a resolution detailing the permitting and application process for festivals held in the city was left on for a second reading. According to council member Anthony Smith, the resolution calls for too much oversight and might possibly intrude on the rights of those wishing to hold private events.

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