Parade permits, President Trump and the dangers of four wheels were discussed last at night’s City Council meeting. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you need to know:
Yes, you need a permit to parade or march.
Chief of Police Tom Pyle, Mayor Steve Patterson and Council Member Fahl, D-4th Ward, worked together to create a legislative response to the recent protests on campus. They announced the idea of changing the parade permit application, which also applies to protests, to only requiring a seven-day notice instead of three weeks. Chief Pyle said this would still give him enough time to figure out over-time compensation and the number of officers needed in a timely manner. Additionally, if a group misses the deadline there is still an opportunity for the chief to waive the notice requirement.
“I have, on occasion, approved parade permits that we got 24 hours notice,” he said. “I want people to have the ability to parade or to march, if they so desire, legally in the city streets.”
Although satisfied with the seven-day notice policy, Fahl pushed for the permit fee to be waived.
“It’s important that people need to realize that marching in the street does create some havoc on other streets,” she said.
Fight the power: City Council says no to the state again.
At last week’s meeting, City Council said it did not condone the new centralized tax collection policy implemented by the state of Ohio. On Monday, they repeated their stance with even more fervor as they now face opposition from the state.
“It would indefinitely cut into our revenues,” Council Member Jeffrey Risner said. “We don’t want this to happen, we don’t need this to happen. We already have an income staff and we are being charged for something we don’t want.”
The state wants municipalities to send their income taxes to Columbus for auditing, be charged for the audit and then have a report sent back to them.
“It is just absolutely ridiculous,” Mayor Patterson said. “(This resolution) will be one of the fastest things I sign just because I cannot stomach the notion of our taxpayers sending one percent up to administration at the state house.”
The loss of control and knowledge of the auditing process were the biggest concerns of City Council. No council member wants to take their eyes off the city’s revenue.
City Council unanimously opposes the Muslim ban.
After expressing strong opposition to the centralized tax collection policy, Fahl brought forth a resolution against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from select Muslim-majority countries.
“I would like to point out that there are no Trump hotels in any of these (states),” she said.
Fahl cited the order as an “enigma” to the shared values of the U.S. and listed all the positive influences immigrants have on not only Athens, Ohio, but on the nation as a whole. She said that it disrupts relations between the U.S. and the Middle East, and fuels the threat of terrorism instead of reducing it.
“Athens has and will always be a welcoming city,” Fahl said.
Walk your bike, carry your board.
The city of Athens is cracking down on sidewalk safety. The new campaign “walk your bike, carry your board” will soon be seen on signage across Athens, Ohio. According to Chief Pyle, it is very rare to be cited for riding a bike or skateboarding on the sidewalk. However, he is looking into empowering code enforcement and parking enforcement officers with the ability to write citations, which are about $20, for the minor misdemeanor violation.
Council Member Patrick McGee, I-At Large, dove deeper into the subject of street dangers. He asked Chief Pyle if anything was being done about cars speeding down Court Street. City Council President Christine Knisely, however, said that was a conversation for the comprehensive planning process, not last night’s meeting.
Council Member Peter Kotses, D-At Large, urged Council to look at bikes as a positive opportunity, not a nuisance. According to Kotses, adapting the streets of Athens to better suit bikers should be something to look more into as it could be a positive change for the community.