As Bexley continues to take steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, City Council will continue its regular meeting schedule, but it could delay some legislation until more residents are able to leave their houses and comment in person.
Council intends to continue meeting at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St., according to the city's website, bexley.org.
But council President Lori Ann Feibel said the council wants to be mindful of participation.
"We certainly want to be able to hold some of those more controversial things that we have had on our agenda to a point where we can have some appropriate resident participation," Feibel said at council's March 24 meeting. "We will continue to be very mindful of that."
When asked what legislation council should delay voting on, Feibel did not offer specifics but said the city is prioritizing the community's health and safety and encouraged residents to participate in council meetings online at bexley.org, which has links to the Granicus and Zoom online streaming platforms.
She said the Zoom option allows residents to comment and ask questions in real time.
"Zoom will allow our citizens to share their thoughts during key votes on legislation," Feibel said. "However, it will be my hope that the pieces of legislation about which members believe citizens will be most passionate will either not be considered as agenda items or will be tabled. But, as with all other members, I am just one vote."
Mayor Ben Kessler said residents can view City Council meetings in person in City Hall's lobby, which is adjacent to council chambers.
"This meeting is actually fully, 100% similar to how we've done it before, just added technology layers to allow for additional means of participation," Kessler said.
At the March 24 meeting, all seven council members were present and no residents attended in person.
The agenda contained only two new items that council approved unanimously as emergency legislation, waiving the three reading requirements: Ordinance 21-20, appropriating $30,000 for the city to spend on coronavirus-related expenditures, and Ordinance 22-20, authorizing the mayor and auditor to adjust paid time off and personnel benefits for city workers who must stay home or work remotely due to the coronavirus.
Legislation that council has discussed in recent weeks but was not on the agenda included Ordinance 11-20, which would place restrictions on short-term rental services, such as Airbnb, within the city limits. Ordinance 11-20 had first and second readings on Feb. 25 and March 10 and had been tentatively scheduled for its third and final reading and council vote March 24.
Another item tentatively scheduled for a third reading on March 24 was Ordinance 12-20, which would authorize the mayor to enter into an incentive agreement for Ohio State Bank to open a branch at 2106 E. Main St.
The ordinance said the bank would be eligible for the Bexley Office Incentive Program, which offers employers cash in an amount to be determined for up to 50% of city income tax withheld for new employee positions created.
Council's next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 14 at City Hall.