When Governor Ivey issued the shelter-in-place order, there were provisions made to modify requirements of essential governmental functions, including those of City Councils across the state. In particular regarding last night’s Council meeting, the proclamation allows a waiver to the Open Meetings Act, which requires governing bodies’ meetings to be open to the public. The Council is now allowed to meet without public access, using phones, video chat, or other means to facilitate essential government function while keeping member away from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public notice was still given via a Facebook page Event posting and access was given to anyone who requested it, via the meeting software “Zoom.”

Mayor Terry Morton began the meeting by reading the above mentioned proclamation. As a part of the waiver, only “essential city business” and COVID-related issues were allowed to be discussed in this format.

Council Members had been emailed copies of the previous meeting minutes, which were accepted by the quorum present on the Zoom meeting – all members but Kenny Hicks.

Mayor Morton mentioned his idea for accommodating social distancing: building a drive-thru window onto the City Hall building.

Council Member Don Mack asked if liability issues had been looked into. Morton said they were still seeking estimates and insurance and other issues would be investigated in due time as the plan comes together.

Morton went on to discuss the COVID-19 situation and response in Centreville and Bibb County, mentioning that as of 4:00 p.m. there were 8 confirmed cases in Bibb County (there are now 9).

Councilman Calvin Elliott said he had spoken with local fire departments and felt they had  good plan in place. City Clerk Megan Batte also mentioned that the Police Department will soon be posting a job opening.

Usually, Police Chief Rodney Smith would give a report to the Council. Instead, Chief Smith was not able to attend the online meeting and everyone received a written copy of his monthly report, which was not read over the meeting.

This first online meeting – there will likely be at least one more using this online meeting software before the shelter-in-place order is lifted – went well from a tech standpoint, with everyone able to log in, see, and hear each other. This was helped by a trial run on Monday afternoon to make sure everyone’s software, cameras, and microphones were working adequately.

Mayor Morton mentioned the historical moment of the first Council meeting via video and the city moving into the future. If you would like to watch the full video, it is posted as a recording on the City’s Facebook page here.

 

 

SOURCEThe Bibb Voice
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A father, creative professional, and an alumnus of Bibb County High School, Jeremy has found his way back to Centreville after many years away. He studied Finance and Economics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and almost a decade ago left the "normal" business world for audio and video production. A freelance writer, photographer, sound engineer, and film and video producer/director/editor, his work has appeared online for Southern Living, People, Health, Food & Wine, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light, It's a Southern Thing, and This Is Alabama, as well as for independent musicians and filmmakers across Alabama.