Pickerington City Council members intend to continue the work of the city and meet virtually until prohibitions on public gatherings are lifted.

Council scheduled a regular meeting April 21, with members to participate from remote locations while broadcasting the session via the Zoom videoconferencing app.

It was the first time council members scheduled a meeting since March 3, when they met at Pickerington City Hall.

Since then, meetings were canceled amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. But council President Tricia Sanders said she expected council and its various committees would begin meeting at least once a month virtually.

"We need to get at least one meeting in a month to just keep in touch and take care of essential business," Sanders said.

Sanders said she didn't anticipate many, if any, new policy initiatives to come before council while members meet remotely.

However, legislation related to day-to-day operations and paying bills for those activities are likely to be addressed.

"There's nothing pressing on our agenda that's an emergency," Sanders said. "We kind of lucked out.

"We're ready to go when everything gets lifted."

Council typically meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Meeting agendas, as well as any links to allow residents to view council meetings held via videoconference, will be posted on the city's website, pickerington.net.

City Manager Greg Butcher said April 15 he was still looking into requirements for public comment in light of virtual meetings, as well as how that could be permitted through the Zoom app.

If public comment isn't permitted through the videoconferences, Butcher said there would still be means for residents to provide feedback and ask questions regarding city issues.

"People can call or email the city any time about anything," he said.

Sanders said it wasn't clear if meetings in May or beyond would be held via videoconference, or if council meetings would return to City Hall, 100 Lockville Road.

Those decisions would depend on the circumstances surrounding the pandemic and would be in compliance with state mandates, she said.

"Hopefully, by (May 5), we'll be back in council chambers, but we don't know," she said.

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