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Mingo cancels next meeting, passes budget

KEEPING A SOCIAL DISTANCE — Members of the Mingo Junction Village Council sat in different locations than normal Tuesday to remain spread out to comply with the CDC’s social distancing recommendation of staying 6 feet apart due to the spread of COVID-19. -- Andrew Grimm

MINGO JUNCTION — Village Council met on Tuesday night, deciding that it will not do so again until April 28.

Councilwoman Jodilynn Fitzgerald made a motion to cancel the next scheduled meeting on April 14. The City Building, where council meets, is currently closed to the public due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.

“That gives us a month’s time to see where things are at,” Councilman George Irvin said. “We can always update or cancel other (meetings) if things don’t improve.”

The status of the April 28 meeting will be re-evaluated as the time approaches. Councils and government entities across the area have been canceling meetings or altering practices in response to COVID-19.

“A month down the road, we could have a whole new picture then,” Councilman Adam Peeler said. “We could re-evaluate where things stand and what the crisis is looking like at that time.”

Council can still call special or emergency meetings in the meantime if a need for one should arise.

Members of council sat in different locations than normal to stay spread out. Social distancing guidelines from the CDC ask people to remain 6 feet apart.

For example, council President Michael Herrick sat at the mayor’s desk with Mayor Ed Fithen absent from the meeting, Irvin sat at a separate desk away from the main council desk and Councilman Jack Brettell sat in the audience seating area.

There were a total of 10 people in the room, remaining at the CDC’s guideline of no gatherings of more than 10 people.

Police Chief Joe Sagun said his department has made adjustments due to the virus.

“We’re functioning the best we can,” he said.

“We are telling our officers if we can handle a call over the phone, we will handle it over the phone,” he explained.

“So far all of our citizens are cooperating with us greatly.”

In other regular business, council passed ordinance 2020-7, which is the budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

Brettell raised concerns about the general fund and asked questions about other funds that can be moved into it in the future if needed.

“We’ve got $4,000 left in our general fund, that’s it,” he said. “If we run into some trouble, we’re going to be in bad shape.”

He said any funds moved should not be used for wages over-run.

“That is something I wanted to bring up,” he added.

“That is something we need to keep an eye on,” Peeler said.

Village administrator Bob Smith said the project to get the village’s ball fields ready for use was wrapping up, though there is uncertainty there will be a season.

“I hope the kids get to use them,” he said.

Smith also praised the water department and service department for their efforts during a recent water line break.

“Those guys work really hard and they do a good job,” Smith said. “I can’t say enough about them.”

Smith also said there are talks to clean the city building and the senior center out of precaution.

Council also approved an ordinance allowing the village to enter into ODOT road salt contracts.

Plans to paint curbs in the village were also discussed.

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