PORTSMOUTH- Monday’s Portsmouth City Council and City Manager meetings will resume conversations and bring several new items to their respective agendas.
Starting at 6, council will bring its third reading in consideration of the use of $6,500 in the appraisal of the Spartan Municipal Stadium. If passed, the money would come from the CIP City Council Land Improvements Fund.
“We want, as a city, to provide as much assistance to restaurants, cafes, and bars for outdoor eating and outdoor drinking and this helps us to do that,” said 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne of the proposed DORA in Downtown Portsmouth, which he hopes will help businesses affected by the coronavirus.
What could further aid local groups is a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Brought to its first reading, council will review a $32,638 federal fund specifically intended for the Portsmouth City Police Department to “prevent, prepare and respond” to the coronavirus.
Not specifically listed is an ordinance that would authorize the acceptance of $155,712.00 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund toward the Portsmouth Skate Park. This grant would be in addition to past grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Tony Hawk Foundation.
On the city manager’s agenda, consideration will be given toward decriminalizing marijuana possession of under 200 grams. Requested by Dunne, the new legislation would amend Chapter 513.03 Drug Abuse; Controlled Substance Possession or Use of the city ordinances.
“If the amount of the drug involved equals or exceeds 100 grams but is less than 200 grams, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree,” reads the ordinance, a charge which could lead up to 30 days in prison and $250 in fines.
Other cities like Columbus have taken steps toward decriminalization. In July 2019, Columbus City Council voted unanimously to reduce possession penalties to $10 for under 100 grams of marijuana and $25 for 100 to 200 grams. Neither offense would lead to jail time.
Portsmouth’s new ordinance would have no fines or jail time for under 200 grams, but would maintain the same punishment for possession above that amount.
They will also be requesting that council will amend the salary ordinance for city employees to be in accordance with the pay increases listed in the IAFF Local #9 and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union for public employees, Local 1039 Bargaining Unit Agreements.
According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Portsmouth and AFSCME, in effect between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2019, employees would receive a 3% wage increase for each year between 2017 and 2019.
City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the Shawnee State ballroom with the City Manager meeting to follow immediately after. Both meetings are closed to the public due to the coronavirus, but can be streamed on the Portsmouth City Government Facebook page.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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