Cherokee Village City Council holds regular meeting

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Cherokee Village City Council held its regular meeting July 30.

Following the approval of minutes and the financial report, Mayor Russell Stokes spoke about revenue and gave an update on a grant from the National Arts Foundation.

“Our revenue has shown a minor decline. I think we will be seeing more in May and down the line. It’s hard to tell but the Municipal League has said it could be a 40 to 45 percent reduction in turn back funds which will impact the street department as well as the administration,” Stokes said.

He also gave an update regarding a grant the city had jointly applied for in 2019 and stated the city was in line to receive the grant, however; it had not yet come to fruition.

Foregoing department reports, the council moved on to old business beginning with second reading of an ordinance regarding solar panels.

The first reading of another proposed ordinance to repeal Ordinance 2017-01 providing for building permit fees and penalties for violations thereof and for other purposes was also discussed.

Discussion of the ordinance was held questioning whether or not the changes would create unnecessary restrictions.

“.. This one is a little over reaching and I don’t see how it is really enforceable, how do you know what someone is doing inside their home? Now, granted, they could do something stupid inside their home like removing a load bearing wall or wiring, but isn’t that ultimately up to the homeowner, why should it be the villages responsibility to first of all find out what they’re doing inside their house and how could you enforce it?” Councilman Jerry Adams asked.

Councilman Rob Smith said to him, the ordinance read as a way to give homeowners the opportunity to have work inspected.

“If I’m a homeowner and I don’t know anything about remodel and I hire someone, how do I know they’re doing it right? As a homeowner, I would want someone to come and look at the work and make sure it’s being done correctly,” Smith said. “I see this as potentially protecting a homeowner against someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

Councilman Les Covington said he felt the change would create an added service the city could offer to residents.

“It’s an excellent service we can offer but as far as enforcing it...” Covington said.

Mayor Stokes said it would depend on the honesty of the homeowner as to participation rates.

“I was the one who originally asked for this to be tabled and I’d like to be able to do more research on it but I agree with Jerry and Les that it is over reach,” Councilwoman Pamela Rowland said.

Covington suggested rewording the ordinance to offer it as a service to those who need assistance.

“I don’t have a problem with us offering that service. I have a problem with it being a permit and potentially a fine situation when it’s so hard to enforce,” Covington said.

The council recommended the ordinance be returned to the planning and zoning commission to be revised.

“We don’t have any items under new business, but I’ve been in conversation with Judge Gene Moore and I know Mayor Fowler has been in conversation about when to reopen government facilities to the public. My thought is to look at May 11 or May 18,” Stokes said. “Judge Moore said he would follow the governors lead on this. It was my feeling if we were to do this we should do it together. Looking at the governor’s statements, if and when we do, we will need to require people to wear a mask and have sanitation as well as our people wearing masks to protect them.”

Comments were made as to a lack of communication from the county level to the cities and that plans should be implemented for future issues.

“I know those concerns have been expressed to the judge as well as the County OEM,” Stokes said.

The need for resources for the city was also discussed with regards to PPE.

Large gatherings, visitors from out of town gathering at local recreational areas and other issues were also discussed.

Cherokee Village City Council meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.

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