Marion aldermen on Tuesday adopted new ordinances concerning citizen comments and events on town property as part of an ongoing effort by the new administration to streamline government processes.
Beginning Oct. 1, residents wanting to address the board of aldermen at its meetings will need to sign up by 4 p.m. the day before to be included on the agenda.
Mayor Larry Gill said the board wanted to encourage residents to participate in the meetings, and the ordinance was a way to do that in an orderly manner.
“I think it’s a matter of order and structure in the meetings,” he said. “More so than any other rumors that’s been made, it’s a matter of structure. That’s where we’re coming from on this.”
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Gill said residents can call or come by Marion Town Hall to have their name placed on the agenda up until 4 p.m. the day before the meeting. At the meeting, he said, residents will have three minutes to address the board.
“Everyone still has the opportunity to speak at a meeting,” he said. “We’re not taking that away. We’re still affording you that opportunity, it’s just in an orderly fashion.”
Aldermen also adopted a new ordinance requiring residents to get an event permit before holding an event on town property. Beginning Oct. 1, Gill said residents will need to come to Marion Town Hall and fill out a permit application prior to holding the event.
“It’s just a matter of liability,” Gill said. “We’re still wanting people to be able to enjoy our town and make use of the property that we have, the four-way and everything else, but doing it in a way where we’re covered, they’re covered and everybody has an understanding of how the event is supposed to operate.”
Gill said he wanted to make sure residents understand the permits were for events on property owned by the Town of Marion. Yard sales, fish fries and other events held on private property do not need a permit, he said.
“If they’re just in somebody else’s business or something like that, that’s on them,” he said. “It has to be on town property, like if somebody was doing something outside of Town Hall or on the right of way.”
Meeting Time Changed
Aldermen also voted to change their meeting time from the second Tuesday of each month to the first Tuesday of each month. The time, 6 p.m., will stay the same.
Gill said the board needed to change the time to meet state law.
“In order to get in compliance with state law, it requires us to meet on the first week of every month,” he said. “Of course, we’ve been meeting on the second week. I guess we’ve just been doing it wrong all this time. So now we have to make an adjustment and meet in the first week of every month.”
The board will also be meeting a second time during the month at 8:15 a.m. each third Tuesday. Gill said the changing the monthly meeting would cause issues with paying claims in a timely manner, so a second meeting was added to pay the bills.
“The bills come in a different times,” he said. “We’re meeting the second week, and we pay bills that come in all the way up until like last Thursday. So with us having to move the meeting up, some bills won’t get on the claims docket if we don’t have a second meeting.”
Gill said the city plans to continue conducting business on the first meeting of the month, with the second meeting limited to addressing the claims docket.
In other business, the board:
• accepted the mayor’s appointments of Butch Harper and Shawn Young to the Economic Development Committee;
• accepted the mayor’s appointment of Jahaun Burton to the Community Engagement Committee;
• approved a COVID-19 policy requiring town employees use available time off for exposure and illness;
• approved hiring Walker & Company CPAs to conduct the town’s annual audit;
• adopted a millage rate of 36.36 mils for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which is the same as the previous year and adopted the town’s FY 2021-2022 budget of $1,619,642.