City Council votes on broadening drug related vocabulary, renovations to Big Sandy Superstore Arena


Kaitlyn Clay

City Council meet Monday to vote on an ordinance to broaden the language used for drug related crimes along with an ordinance to allow the mayor to enter into contract to furnish labor, material and equipment for the renovation of The Big Sandy Superstore Arena Plaza.

An ordinance amending the rules of how future legislation could be introduced was moved to a second reading during the City Council meeting Monday evening.

Councilman Gary Bunn sponsored the bill, which requires future legislation to be reviewed by the council Chairman or an appropriate committee.

City Attorney Scott Damron said this ordinance would provide an “interim step” to any presented ordinances.

“The features of this change would be to require any council member to submit the proposed item to the chairperson, rather than directly on the agenda,” Damron said. “The chairperson would then review and determine whether or not to put it immediately on the agenda. If not, the chairperson would be required to refer it to the appropriate committee for review.”

Councilwoman Rebecca Thacker said she felt the new ordinance was introduced “because of the parking ordinance” which failed at the last council meeting.

“This is another way for [council members] to fix it so that I cannot participate in the council process,” Thacker said. “And I am prepared—if this goes forward—to take it across the street with an attorney because they are prohibiting me from doing my own job and allowing the Chairman to have more authority over council and we were all elected equally.”

Council members added an amendment to the ordinance requiring the appropriate committee to meet within 14 days if the chairperson did not approve the legislation. The ordinance will be voted on at the next city council meeting.

Another ordinance modifying article 529, sections 3 and 11 of the codified ordinances to include the words “inject or ingest in any fashion” to broaden the descriptions of illegal and illicit substances was unanimously approved.

The previous ordinance used the words “breathing, inhaling or drinking intoxicants” in order to issue citations.

An ordinance allowing the mayor to enter into a contract to renovate the Big Sandy Superstore Arena plaza area was unanimously approved.

Other approved resolutions include the Community Development Block Grant, Home Investment Partnership, Emergency Solutions Grant programs and the Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Action Plan with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The next City Council meeting will be May 9 at 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

Clara Maynard can be contacted at [email protected].