It was a solemn Monticello City Council meeting on January 12. The issues regarding Police Chief Kent Adair are published elsewhere, so I will report on the remainder of the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, three new council members were administered the oath of office by City Recorder Cindi Holyoak. Those promising to uphold the oath were Nathan Chamberlain, Blaine Nebeker, and Sanford Randall.
This was a solemn occasion and Mayor Tim Young took the opportunity to tell them sometimes it is a weighty responsibility. He then expressed appreciation for their willingness to submit their names for voter consideration and now commit themselves to serve.
Mayor Young then turned his attention to the many members of the public in attendance at the meeting. They were offered the opportunity to comment on any item of concern, except the personnel item on the agenda. Holyoak was asked why attendees could not comment on that item. She said the city had received advice from legal counsel to avoid any libelous action.
As business was brought before the Council, they appeared to be a united group of men determined to ask questions and move forward with decisions.
The first request, presented by Kelly Pehrson and Chris Baird, was that baseball field number three be named the Reed Young Memorial Field. The proposal had been presented to the Young family and the response was favorable.
The council voted unanimously to approve the request. Pehrson and Baird will head an effort to raise funds for a scoreboard with the field name on it.
All three fields at the park are now named after “Young” men who loved baseball and whose lives were cut short. They are Reed Young, Ronnie Young and Frank Young.
The Council approved changes to the RV Park Ordinance that were introduced by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Commission wants to encourage RV Park owners with requirements that do not mandate a huge cash investment. For instance, it is not required to pave throughout a park; well-maintained gravel is acceptable.
The 2016 meeting calendar was approved. The meeting schedule mirrors 2015, with regular City Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 7 p.m., with few exceptions.
The council may take field trips occasionally to city operations, such as the visitor center and water treatment plant. This will help them have a clearer understanding of how the city operates.
City Manager Ty Bailey included midyear budget numbers. He said the city is on track.
Bailey also reported on the fuel system at the airport. He has requested a change to a Community Impact Board (CIB) grant to include a fueling system. The project has been bid. The work is to be completed in the spring.
The council reappointed Lee Bennett as chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Cindi Holyoak as city recorder and Ty Bailey as city treasurer. Bennett will serve in this capacity for a fourth term.
The council then went into executive session behind closed doors to discuss the personnel issue. When they returned over two hours later, it could be observed that things had changed. They seemed tired and emotional. The weight spoken of earlier by Mayor Young seemed to rest on the entire council.
In a motion voiced by Councilman George Rice, Kent Adair was “un-appointed” as chief of police, effective immediately, with his severance package to end on March 25. The motion was seconded, and the roll call vote was unanimous.
There was no happiness to be found in faces as the decision was made, and there were no winners on the Council at this event.
The thing I noticed the most was a dramatic change which has occurred in what I thought of as a young council when I first began attending the meetings just over one year ago.
Even the three new members, who took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting, had demonstrated an ability beyond their experience to make hard decisions. They appeared to take it all very seriously.