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City council meetings are being held virtually due to COVID-19. Public comments are still accepted during these meetings via phone.

Three newly elected city councilmembers, Amanda Abraham, Leo Morris and Micah Fenton, took the oath of office during Thursday’s virtual city council meeting.

Mayor Terri Brown also presented outgoing commissioners, Larry Hurta and Doug Lewis, with plaques commemorating the time they served the Marshall City Commission.

Additionally, Brown was once again elected by fellow councilmembers as the Mayor of the city of Marshall, with Councilmember Amy Ware elected as Mayor pro tem.

“Thank you for your thoughtfulness and I am very humbled to serve again as your mayor,” Brown said.

The results of the election, which included 16 amendments to the city charter, and one additional tax amendment, were also approved by councilmembers during the meeting.

During the meeting

Ten new grant applications for the city’s COVID-19 Small Business Grant program were approved during the meeting. Marshall businesses including Mikes Corner Shoe Store, Alicia’s Food for the Soul, Addictions by Rhonda, Deborah’s Boutique, Dr. Mark Neil, Blue Frog, Blissmoor Company Store, Miguel’s Authentic Mexican Food and Cajun Tex were all approved for the maximum grant amount of $2,500. Vanessa Wiley and Associates also was approved for grant money, though they only requested a little over $2,000.

Council members also unanimously approved an ordinance which amended Chapter 14, Garbage, Trash, and Weeds of the Code of Ordinances of the city during Thursday’s meeting, revising the schedule of refuse rates, providing for monthly charges, and establishing an effective date of Jan. 1, 2021.

Director of Public Works Eric Powell stated during the meeting that this with increase rate by 1 percent, which is based on the March CPI index for this year. Powell also stated that this is an annual increase that is built into the city’s contract with Republic.

Councilmembers also conducted a public hearing during the meeting about possibly amending the Community Development Block Grant 5-year Consolidated Plan and the 2020 Program Year Annual Action Plan to include CDBGCOVID Funds and proposed activities.

No community members spoke during the public meeting.

After the public hearing was closed, council members unanimously approved the changes to the Community Development Block Grant 5-year Consolidated Plan and the 2020 Program Year Annual Action Plan.

Mike Hallum, with Knuckols, Duvall, Hallum, & Co presented to the council on the 2019 audit report during the virtual meeting, giving the city of Marshall a glowing review.

“This is the level of insurance that they can have,” Hallum said during the meeting.

City Manager Mark Rohr also announced a number of vacancies on city boards and committees that city officials were hoping to have filled. Rohr said that anyone interested to applying for these positions can go to the city finance department and fill out a short application for the position.

Open positions include:

  • One seat on the Community Development Advisory Committee
  • Four seats on the Keep Marshall Beautiful Advisory Board
  • One seat on the Main Street Advisory Board
  • One seat on the Marshall Downtown Development Committee
  • Two seats on the Marshall Public Library board of trustees
  • One seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustments

Councilmember Amy Ware was also named the councilmember serving for the Visit Marshall Advisory Board during the meeting.

Police Chief Cliff Carruth also presented to the council during the meeting on the success of the police departments recent Drug Takeback event. Carruth said that the department was able to collect 13 boxes of prescription drugs to have destroyed.

“This really is an important event, and we try every chance we get to get that out to the public,” he said.

Carruth added that the Marshall Police Department also has a drug drop box in the lobby of their station that is open 24/7 to the public, with no questions being asked.

The purchase of a boom axe for the Marshall Public Works department was also approved during the meeting. Powell said that the department needs council permission to approve purchases over $50 thousand, and that the boom axe cost just over $60 thousand.

Councilmembers also authorized the purchase of seven new police vehicles with financing from Vera Bank during the meeting. Mayor Terri Brown recued herself from the vote due to her conflict of interest as an employee of the bank.

During the end of the meeting, Councilmember Leo Morris thanked Powell and the members of the public works department for their increased productivity in street sweeping, and encouraged the community to keep the city clean by not littering.

Councilmember Vernia Calhoun during the end of the meeting also asked about the status of the municipal court, and asked why they have not restarted operations.

City staff stated that the court was still waiting on approval of their COVID-19 plan before reopening.

Editor’s note: City commissioners are now referred to city councilmembers after the adoption of the city charter amendments that passed during the Nov. 3 election.

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