City Law City Council advocates for stricter gun laws at state and federal levels By Cole Behrens Posted on April 17, 2018 6 min read 2 0 3,491 Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Photo by Mike King via Flickr. Athens’ City Council could agree on one thing this week: stricter gun safety legislation is important. But they clashed over the details. Gun laws resolution City Council passed a resolution Monday recommending that state and federal legislative bodies enact stricter gun safety legislation. The resolution included recommendations for legislation that: bans “military-grade guns including semi-auto assault weapons,” raises the age to purchase a firearm to 21, closes gun show loopholes and expand background checks. The resolution also encourages gun owners to lock their guns in safes with locks. The bill was introduced by all members of the council. Councilmember Chris Fahl spoke on behalf of the resolution. “I think we’ve all been struck over the past six weeks about how much energy and anguish people have been going through because of the recent and historical incidents that have been occuring,” Fahl said. The resolution also commends the students that protested across the country in the months since the Parkland shooting. “We are expressing our support for the young people who have become activists for this cause,” councilmember Sarah Grace said. “And also the fact is that this is becoming a growing problem in society.” Councilmembers Peter Kotses and Pat McGee both voted against the resolution, saying that they were opposed to the portion recommending that the age to purchase firearms be raised to 21. Kent Butler voted in favor of the resolution, but also expressed the same concern. “I believe that citizens who are 18 should have the same rights as any other citizen, whether it be alcohol, or guns or to marry,” McGee said. Ordinance for maintenance improvement City Council also passed an ordinance to allow Mayor Steve Patterson to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to complete maintenance on Kimes Reservoir on the south side of Athens. The ordinance was introduced by Kent Butler. The CDBG would allow the city as much as $150,000 of funding to complete the projects of patching the exterior, sealing cracks, patching the roofing and general mechanical work. Built in 1968, the building was never emptied in its entirety at once, Patterson said. The facility can hold up to one million gallons of water and serves the south side of Athens. According to the Patterson, these are routine repairs and the reservoir is in good shape. “There is not some level of danger or doom with this structure,” Patterson said. Ordinance for sewage equipment City Council also passed an ordinance to permit the mayor to apply for a CDBG to purchase sewage equipment to dewater the sludge. Kent Butler introduced the ordinance. If awarded the CDBG, the city could receive up to $350,000. The city would purchase a belt press, which is like a grape press but for sludge, or a dewatering centrifuge, which causes the water to dissipate from the sludge, Patterson said. The process of dewatering is when the sludge byproduct of water treatment is pressed to remove excess water and dehydrate the sludge into a solid. It is then transported to a landfill for disposal, Patterson said. According to Grace, purchasing a belt press or other similar equipment will save the city money because the weight of the water is a significant factor in the current cost to transport it.The city currently processes 2.2 million to 2.7 million gallons of sludge each year, Butler said.