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The Athens City Council meets for its regular session in the Athens City Building on November 18, 2019. (FILE)

City Council: Equality Ohio representative discusses Ohio Fairness Act

Members of City Council expressed their support for LGBTQ legislation pending in the statehouse during Monday’s committee meetings.

Dominic Detwiler, a public policy strategist at Equality Ohio, spoke to councilmembers about identical bills in the House and Senate that would add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio.

Twenty-five cities across Ohio and Cuyahoga County as well as 21 states across the country already have these protections. City Council approved a similar resolution in 2018 and plans to introduce a resolution in support of the new legislation by next week in time for the statehouse hearings that are set to begin at the end of the month.

The Planning & Development Committee discussed Title 49 considerations in regard to special right-of-way permits of a sign for the Ohio Student Farm on 338 W. State St. and a memorial on Mulberry Street.

Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, said Title 49 makes it easier to manage right-of-way permits because the revocable licenses are now automatically renewed, rather than having to be renewed by Council every 10 years. 

"We think this process is a great process as we move forward. It just streamlines it,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said.

Patterson announced that there will be a resolution next week, in accordance with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, that would approve the installation of a permanent memorial marker to Christopher Davis, a black man who was a victim of lynching in 1881. The marker will be installed on Mulberry Street near Baker Center and South Court Street.

The City and Safety Services Committee discussed the need to purchase water softening salt for the Water Treatment Plant.

“Salt prices have gone up,” Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large said. “We can hopefully purchase at the most appropriate time.”

Water softening salt for the area is estimated at $130 a ton, and Athens is budgeting for 1,100 tons.

This committee is also planning to introduce an ordinance that will appropriate $400,000 for a vacuum truck replacement.


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