By Alisha Thompson
Here’s a quick refresher before we begin. Ordiance: is a law made by a municipality or other local authority. Resolution: a formal expression of opinion, will or intent voted on by an official body or assembled group.
Four of the five city councilmen voted yes for Resolution 569 establishing guidelines for face coverings or face masks to be worn in indoor public places to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Councilman Josh Oakley abstained from the vote.
Davis City Manager Andy Holland said that the city had received several calls requesting the city enact a mask ordinance because residents were worried about their health and the image of the city not taking a stance on the subject. Holland said, in turn, there are just as many phone calls or conversations from people wanting the opposite. City Attorney Mark Melton said that an ordinance was a good compromise and noted that COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
The resolution does not apply to: children under 5 years old; persons with a documented medial condition or disablity, which prevents the wearing of a face mask or covering; persons seated at a restaurant or bar; people in a privately owned vehicle; persons receiving services that require access to the face area, such as at a bank, dental offices or doctor office; however, while waiting for such services masks shall be worn; persons who care for or interact with the hearing impaired; offices or work-spaces that are not open to the public and where social distancing can be maintained; persons in an occupation in which wearing a face mask or covering poses a hazard; a privately owned residence; and speakers, while addressing a public event or gathering, so long as social distancing is maintained.
The city has posters available for local businesses that explain the resolution for those who would like to post them at their business.
There is no specific penalty for violation of this resolution. Those refusing to wear a mask may be subject to prosecution for trespassing, disturbing the peace disorderly conduct or other similar offenses. In other words, it’s up to the business owner or individual wishing to enforce the mask ordinance to make that call.
The resolution is effective immediately and will remain in effect until March 15. At that time the council will determine if the resolution needs to be extended.
A specific use permit was granted for TH Rogers Lumber Company to construct a storage yard located at 108 North Fifth Street. There will be a gravel lot with a fenced area and landscaping. The request only drew two protests. One stating that her property value would decrease and the other withdrew his protest after speaking with store manager Daniel Sierra.
Sierra said there will be no semi-trucks at the new storage yard. He was happy with the specific use permit and said that they requested the specific use permit because they didn’t want a business going in that location if\after they left that the neighborhood would object to..
Holland said that he has worked with Sierra on issues that he was quick to address and praised him for the improvements made at TH Rogers Lumber Company store front.
Sierra thanked the council and said this new addition will allow TH Rogers to grow with the ability to buy in bulk and store more materials in the new storage yard.
Code Enforcement Officer Dale Fullerton addressed the council regarding 205 E. Chigley. The city recently received tips regarding large amounts of caustic chemicals at the property. This led to the city working with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding clean-up. Citing concerns of the roof collapsing, a fire or another potential disaster taking place at the building, in combination with large amounts of chemicals present, the council voted to begin abatement proceedings of this property and others listed owned by the deceased property owner. The heirs of the property owner have retained legal council.
Melton will go to court Friday on behalf of the city for a temporary emergency injunction prohibiting anyone from removing anything from the property.
Grateful volunteer firemen from the Reagan Fire Department presented the City of Davis with a plaque in appreciation of city’s donation of a firetruck. Eric Paul of the Reagan Fire Department boasted about being a former Davis volunteer fireman and now the Reagan fire chief. “We’ve never had a true fire engine,” Paul said. “We are a brotherhood and when a brotherhood gets together, we help each other. Y’all made a donation that has tremendously helped us. I thank you, the citizens thank you, the community thanks you.”
Councilmen voted to approve Dusty Parsons as the Davis Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief. Other new officers approved in the January meeting are first assistant fire chief Jeremy Hoffman and second assistant fire chief Shane Archuleta.
Councilmen voted to surplus ATVs to Smokey Valley Fire Department. Resolution 566 to distribute OMAG escrow funds was approved.
Resolution 567 for the General City Council Election. Ward 1 councilman Jeremy Bumgarner and Ward 2 councilman Stan Jones are up for re-election on Tuesday, April 6. Filing period is Feb. 1 -3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Murray County Election Board in Sulphur.
There will be a speed limit change in school zones from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. to 25 miles per hour.
The training and travel line item on the city’s budget will be $3,000 less after council agreed to add that money to legal publications/advertising. City Treasurer/Clerk Susie Suther said that she wanted to work with Munico, a firm that legally reviews city codes and ordinances to make sure there are no problems with Davis codes and laws. This process is $3,000 and the council voted unanimously to approve this smart review of the city’s ordinances and codes.
In the city manager’s report, Justin Ramsey with Cross Bar Ranch, addressed the council regarding their progress as managers of the property.
They are four years into a 10 year lease ending in 2027. Ramsey said “We are optimistic at we have going at Cross Bar. We went into running Cross Bar blind, we figured it out as we went. Rome was not built in a day. We have a good base now and flow and function. We are working to adapt our master plan and move forward.”
Ramsey said the group is working on an entrance gate, trail signage, rv sites, shower house, speed limit signs and roadways. One thing he’s proud of is the cedar control they’ve done at the ranch. He said that couldn’t have happened without the help of the Coffey family.
The city has set benchmarks for Ramsey and his partners at the ranch. “When we set these benchmarks, they were for a ranch I’ve never worked on. Now I feel different and maybe those need to change. We need to do what makes sense,” Ramsey said. One of the benchmarks included a paved “main” road. Ramsey said they have put nearly $200,000 in roads to date.
An atv race from Arkansas has looked into a Labor Day race at Cross Bar and Ramsey said they are looking into more events for the park. He was very excited about the recent Ultra4 race and the ranch’s partnership with Turner Falls Park, uniting the two properties.
“I won’t lie, this is not easy,” Ramsey said. “That’s a big, hard mountain and we’ve worked hard to get there. We’re not where we want to be yet but it’s going well.
Ramsey hopes to bring members of the council to the ranch in March for a site visit.
New Davis Chamber of Commerce director Monica Popkess made her introductory presentation to the council with plans regarding a fresh start at the chamber.
On Jan. 20, Popkess will host a Zoom meeting for the Davis Chamber of Commerce. In this meeting, she hopes to be able to find out what business owners in the community need from the chamber and how she can assist them. “I want to hear why they are chamber members,” Popkess said. “Just because it’s what we’ve always done is the wrong answer.”
Later in January, the chamber board will host a Zoom board members retreat and in February chamber committee meetings will start. Those wishing to learn more about the Davis Chamber of Commerce are invited to attend the Jan. 20 meeting or contact Popkess at the Davis Chamber by calling (580) 369-2402 or visiting the Chamber at 100 E. Main Street.
The next City Council meeting is Monday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Davis City Council Chambers located at 308 South Third Street.