Portsmouth City Council met Monday evening for its regularly scheduled meeting.
With a limited number of items on the agenda, a majority of the evenings conversation centered around Councilwoman Jo Ann Aeh who was forced to resign from her position as 2nd Ward Councilperson over issues with her insurance.
City Manager Sam Sutherland was the first to speak on the former councilwoman, expressing how Aeh would be missed and thanking her for her years of service to the city. Similar remarks followed by Mayor Kevin E. Johnson, Auditor Trent Williams, Councilman Sean Dunne, Councilman Jerrold Albrecht, and Councilman Thomas Lowe.
Williams, who stated at the last city council meeting that he was working to see what could be done to resolve the issue with PERS on Aeh’s behalf, said that numerous emails to the organization had still gone unanswered.
During the meeting Lowe elected to sit in the second ward seat. “There’s a reason that I’m sitting in this seat tonight. That’s because Mrs. Jo Ann Aeh, that woman has done so much to help me in this council position. It’s a shame that she’s been wronged,” said Lowe. “I hope something can be done. We need her back here. She’s the most knowledgeable person that I’ve met here.” Lowe stated he would continue to sit in the 2nd ward seat until Aeh returned.
Other items from council included the adoption of the annual tax budget for the year 2020, the passage of an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $8,000.00 from CIP Fund No. 301 to be paid from Land Improvement Cemetery/Grounds Line Item No. 301.333.5502 for security cameras and monitoring system for Branch Rickey Park, an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $10,000.00 from the General Fund No. 101 to be paid from the community agencies line item no. 101.119.5291 for the City’s contribution for the Boat Races to be held during the River Days Celebration, and an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $10,000.00 from the general fund no. 101 to be paid from Ground Recreation Line Item No. 101.335.5263 to be used for Christmas Lights for Tracy Park.
Additionally, an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $7,000.00 from CIP Fund No. 301 to be paid from Land Improvement Cemetery/Grounds Line Item No. 301.333.5502 for fence repairs at Branch Rickey Park was passed for a second reading.