|7/15/2020 8:30:00 AM|
Mineral Point City Council votes to continue virtual meetings
|At last month's city council meeting, it was agreed to meet in person at the Mineral Point Opera House to allow the public to attend, while practicing social distancing.|
That was before things changed. At last Tuesday's special common council meeting, it was learned that there were 31 positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa County. The total number increased by 10 within a week's time. Because of the uptick in cases, council members felt a special meeting was necessary to address meetings in person or video conferencing, as it has been since March.
City Administrator Erin Hirn felt from an employee standpoint, that it would be wise to continue with video conferencing due to the spike in cases.
Mayor Jason Basting agreed with this and stated that it should be an option for committee meetings.
Although no action was taken, it was agreed upon to continue council meetings virtually.
At the last city council meeting, a proposal for a business recovery plan was presented to council members about potentially closing High Street to provide outdoor shopping and dining experiences while practicing social distancing. No action was taken at that meeting as council members felt that more planning needed to happen. The Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce, City of Mineral Point, Tourism Commission, and local businesses have been working together in recent weeks to develop a proposal for the safe reopening of the Mineral Point visitor-based economy, specifically in the High and Commerce Street areas downtown.
Two proposals were presented by Mineral Point Chamber executive director Gaile Schwickrath. The first proposal consisted of closing three High Street blocks weekly, starting Friday and Saturday. The proposal could have gone through October 31, 2020 to accommodate fall visitor traffic.
The second proposal also discussed granting extension of premise to all Mineral Point businesses who wish to extend their commerce space outdoors. It would allow Mineral Point businesses to construct "Parklet" outdoor platform patio space in the parking spaces immediately in front of their establishments.
Hirn stated that she had seen Galena with a street closure concept, and that while there were minor issues, visitors were able to visit while practicing social distancing worked well. She also stated that the parklet concept was only used by restaurants.
A survey was sent out to residents, and chamber members. It was felt that a majority of residents were not in favor of a street closure, and a majority of chamber members and business owners were not quite ready to open, due to the uptick in COVID-19 positive cases.
No action was taken at the council meeting, and it was recommended by council members to keep working on a plan.
In other Mineral Point City Council business:
-Council members approved a lease agreement with Driftless Area Land Conservancy.
-Council members approved a Change Order Request regarding the Mineral Point Water Tower Project. The change order addresses removing an existing penetration pipe in the dry access tube. The pipe in this area does not appear to serve any purpose and is a location for possible future leaks/failure/corrosion. Removal was advised. An existing riser pipe was also reported to be in worse condition than originally expected after complete exposure. It was recommended to perform this work now, it may not last until the next time the tower needs to be repaired and repainted (approximately 20 years from now). The City would then have to have it repaired and repainted as a separate item. Doing so now, the City would only have to pay $9,700 to have both projects completed.
-Council members approved temporarily amending sections of the Municipal Code related to alcohol beverage licensing fees. Class "A" Fermented Malt Beverage fee License fee shall be $1.00 starting July 1, 2020; Class "B" Fermented Malt Beverages/Beer License. License fee shall be $1.00 for the license year starting July 1, 2020. The fee will be prorated according to the number of months or fraction thereof for which the license is issued; "Class A" Intoxicating Liquor License fee shall be fifty $50.00 for the license year commencing July 1, 2020; "Class B" Intoxicating Liquor License fee shall be fifty $50.00 for the license year commencing July 1, 2020, which fee shall be prorated according to the number of months or fraction thereof for which the license is issued; Temporary Class "B" fermented malt beverage license is $1 per event; Temporary Class "B" wine license is $1 per event except if an organization is applying for both a temporary Class "B" beer licenses and a temporary Class "B" wine license for the same event, the maximum fee is still $1.
The next common council meeting will be virtually held on Tuesday July 14 at 6 p.m.
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