City Council Discusses How to Proceed on Prayer at Meetings

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Published on August 6 2014 11:02 am
Last Updated on August 7 2014 8:54 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday discussed whether to begin their meetings with prayer.

The US Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that allowed public prayers at meetings led City Commissioner Matt Hirtzel to ask whether the issue should be considered. Council members were presented proposed verbiage by their legal team that substitutes "invocation" for prayer and replaces "faith based organizations" simply with "organizations". The proposal also indicates that anyone who would like to offer the invocation would be asked to do so on a first-come basis.

The matter will be revisited by the Council, likely in September.

Council members also discussed upcoming capital improvement projects. Bids are to be let on the final phase of Blohm Avenue and on roof replacement at the water treatment plant and the Central Fire Station on Thursday and on this year's pavement patching program on August 12. The Council also discussed renaming Outer Belt West to "Utz Outer Belt West" in honor of former mayor Bob Utz, who helped get the ball rolling on the Outer Belt project.

In action items, the City Council passed an ordinance establishing standards for the construction of utility facilities within the city's public ways and passed an ordinance adopting a social media policy for the City. A resolution was adopted accepting a proposal from Civil Design, Incorporated for six separate inflow and infiltration projects to separate sanitary sewers from storm water sewers for about $48,000, and approved a replat of land owned by Rick Wittenborg and Andrew Dougherty into one large lot.

The Council rezoned land owned by the City at 3701 South Banker, across Thies Avenue from the John Boos plant on South Route 45, from non-urban to light industrial district and rezoned land next door to Howell Asphalt on North Banker from non-urban to light industrial district. The south project would help make the City-owned land open to development and the north land is under contract to be purchased by Howell Asphalt once the rezoning is completed. Also approved was the rezoning of land owned by Brad Voyles at 15870 North 1400th Street from multiple dwelling district to general commercial district to develop the property, next to The Glenwood, with an office building. The Council released a bond on water line improvements in the central part of town and released a utility easement allowing Mike Borries to construct a permanent addition to the Prime Sole building. Also approved was an engineering agreement with Farnsworth Group to design a 200-foot extension of Kreke Avenue west of South Banker to provide access to the commercial properties being developed in that area such as Nuxoll Food Center and the new NAPA store.

The Council approved a replat of three lots in Katrina Estates Subdivision and approved a liquor license for Formaggio's Pizza since its move to Keller Drive. 

Council members approved two temporary street closures; one is for the annual Old Settlers Reunion on Saturday, September 27, the other is for Premier Broadcasting's 20th Anniversary Party on Friday, August 22. Streets around the old Courthouse square are involved in the case of both events. We'll let you know more about our celebration in the next several days.