Low turnout frustrates Peabody city council
Expecting resident turn out to be large, Peabody City Council moved the Monday night meeting to the library basement.
Unfortunately, only five residents attended to give opinions on whether or not alcohol should be allowed at City Park during softball tournaments.
Council member Travis Wilson was frustrated that the people asking for alcohol to be permitted did not attend the meeting to plead their case and ask questions.
“I’m not 100 percent against revising the ordinance but I have to say, after no one from the group showed up to talk with us, I’m down to about 30 percent in favor,” Wilson said.
Four residents spoke against the proposal. No one spoke in favor of the proposal. Local business owner Mark Whitney urged the council to ask a number of questions before making a decision.
“Why is the present ordinance in effect now? What prompted it?” he said. “If drinking at the park is going on now, why isn’t the current ordinance being enforced?”
He asked if the city had money to pay for extra police to monitor situations.
Resident Mary Olson was concerned that the requesters weren’t available for public questions. She urged council members to get answers before they make a decision.
Librarian Rodger Charles passionately pleaded with council members to not change the ordinance.
“Don’t take the only place some kids in poverty have to go to,” he said. “We don’t want to hurt them anymore than they are already.”
Pandea Smith, new Peabody resident, asked if the decision could be put out for election.
Mayor Larry Larson said they could put it out to vote in a special election, wait until the Nov. 2019 general election, or make a decision.
“If we have a special election, it will cost the city to cover expenses,” he said.
Smith then asked if a member of the recreation commission had given input to the situation since overseeing the park is their duty.
Council members will pursue recommendations from the commission.
When asked where the council goes now on the issue, Larson said the council is done with the issue right now.
“If they come back and ask, we’ll address it then,” he said.
Wilson asked Ronnie Harms, public works superintendent, for an update on numerous street potholes. Harms said his team was working on patching them but it is just a Band-Aid for the problem.
Treasurer Liz Harder said the Christmas committee donation flyer was sent with water bills, and garnered an additional $52 per month, a $300 one-time donation, and 15 new donors to add to those already contributing.
Sworn in were employees police chief, Bruce Burke; officer Megan Chizek; Harms, and public works employees Lucas Larson and Clayton Philpott. City clerk Jylle Wilson said all employees must take an oath of office to meet state requirements.
The Christmas committee asked if the “Come home for Christmas” promotion could be moved to Sunday evening if weather is bad Saturday. Council members urged her to contact Burke to consider options.
A resignation from planning and zoning commission member Jim Rippe was accepted. Anyone interested in the position should contact the mayor or the city office.
Larson told council members he has purchased a home out of Peabody but has no date set for the move. Once relocated, he will resign as mayor.
Last modified Nov. 29, 2018