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Council Approves 2016 ScoutFest Camping

By Timothy Perry

April 25, 2016 - 9:34 PM

MOUNT VERNON - At Monday night’s city council meeting, council members discussed a proposed ordinance to allow tent camping in city parks by nonprofit groups. After a short discussion, council members unanimously decided to indefinitely postpone the ordinance. Council member John Francis noted that not passing this ordinance will allow council to vet those who camp in the parks. Vail noted that it will also prevent individual camping in the parks.

Council also unanimously voted to allow ScoutFest 2016, which describes itself as “a gathering of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and Explorers” to camp at Ariel-Foundation Park. Council member Susan Kahrl noted that this resolution was passed to allow council to keep a previous promise to the Boy Scouts that allowed them to camp in the park. Council Member John Fair asked Safety Service Director Joel Daniels what liability the resolution might carry to the City. Daniels said that is does carry a certain amount of liability, but the Boy Scouts will carry their own insurance.

Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller told council that the Knox County Health Department is in the process of submitting grant applications to create a federally qualified health center. The center will have dental, medical, mental health, and social services if the grant is approved.

Miller noted that this year has saw an increase in nuisance investigations, but not all of them are solid waste investigations. She told council of the reduction in animal bites, but also warned that there are still too many non-vaccinated animals.

She went on to tell council that the Health Department will soon begin the process of national accreditation and invited the public to participate in the Knox County Drug Takeback Day on April 30, from 10 AM to 2 PM.  

Miller, upon a question from Councilman Bruce Hawkins regarding the Zika virus threat, told council that the mosquito that carries the virus has been in the U.S. for many years. Senior citizens and women of child bearing age are considered most at risk.

She offered the following prevention tips:

-Be more cautious and careful when outside

-Don’t go out at dusk

-Wear long sleeves

-Use insect repellent with Deet

-Avoid standing water

Council Member Nancy Vail expressed her appreciation for the efforts of Miller and the Health Department.

In other business council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the safety service director to advertise for bids and enter into contract for the Vernonview Dr./Beech St. sidewalk improvement project. According to city Safety Service Director Joel Daniels, the project will be completed by December 1st. Daniels noted that the project is grant funded. It will proceed down Beech St. as far as money will allow, with the end goal being the continuation of the sidewalk to Sychar Rd. at a time when money will allow.

It unanimously passed a resolution approving the appointments of Michael Percy as member and Todd Burson as an alternate member to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Council Member John Francis noted that Mr. Burson was preciously the active member and Percy was the alternate, however due to his inability to attend the meetings, Percy would be moved into the active member position and Burson would be moved into the alternate position.

Council unanimously approved an ordinance setting hourly compensation for seasonal personnel in parks, streets, cemetery, and water/wastewater departments.

During closing remarks, Joel Daniels noted that Arbor Day is April 29. He told council that Pleasant St. School will be receiving a tree donated by the Mount Vernon Shade Tree Commission.

Daniels told council that the city is in the process of setting up a Facebook page to allow rapid dissemination of information through social media.

He thanked the VFW and Moose Lodge for their donation of two bicycles that will allow Mount Vernon police to re-establish a bike patrol.

He told council that the re-manufacture and installation of the new water pump has been completed and the Mount Vernon water system is back to full capacity.

Council Member Susan Kahrl expressed appreciation to Siemens employees who helped to clean up Ariel-Foundation Park. She also noted that she is recruiting volunteers for the event center at Ariel-Foundation Park and noted that the Clock House at the park is looking for volunteers.

Council member Nancy Vail noted that there are numerous opportunities for seniors through the Station Break and that seniors who have any needs should give the Station break a call. They provide meals and transportation to medical care and can assist with various household functions.

The next meeting of City Council is scheduled for May 9 at 7:30 PM.

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