New Albany News

City will not decorate tree for holidays

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

New Albany City Council on Dec. 3 declined to approve Councilman Chip Fellows' request to put lights on an evergreen tree for the holiday season.

Fellows said he would like the city to decorate in some way for the holidays and mentioned the northwest corner of Dublin-Granville and Johnstown roads near the Phelps House.

Fellows said other cities decorate for the holidays.

City Attorney Mitch Banchefsky said he could investigate what other cities do and Fellows said that could take too long.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson, who is an attorney, said case law is clear that cities can't financially support any one religion and she associates lighted evergreens with Christmas.

Fellows made a motion to spend money to place or plant a tree near the Phelps House and decorate it with lights.

The motion failed 3-2, with Stephen Pleasnick casting the other vote in favor and Glyde Marsh and Sloan Spalding joining Ferguson in voting against it. Colleen Briscoe was absent and Chris Wolfe resigned last month.

In other business Dec. 3, New Albany City Council approved an ordinance to increase the mayor's and council members' salaries by 2.5 percent.

City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance with Ferguson voting against it. She declined to comment why she voted against the motion.

The mayor's salary will increase from $20,000 to $22,345, with the stipend for mayor's court increasing from $5,000 to $5,125.

Council members' salaries will increase from $9,990 to $10,240, according to the legislative report.

The City Council president pro tempore, who presides over City Council meetings in the mayor's absence, earns the same as other City Council members. Fellows currently holds the position.