Athens City Council discussed at its meeting Monday evening the creation of Clean Energy Week in Athens and the first medical marijuana dispensary that opened in the city.
The meeting began with an announcement from Councilman Sam Crowl, D-3rd Ward, that it is Pollution Prevention week in Athens. Throughout the week, Ohio University and the Athens Soil and Water Conservation District will host activities around Athens to promote pollution prevention, including a water tasting challenge, a clean-up of the Hocking River and more, he said.
Later in the meeting, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson welcomed Harvest of Ohio, the medical marijuana dispensary, which held a grand opening Monday. The Athens location is called Harvest of Athens, which is in addition to its Columbus and Beavercreek locations, according to a previous Post report.
“I was behind (this) 110% because as a former health psychology professor slash researcher at OU, I know that there are benefits to certain people with certain conditions,” Patterson said. “So I have been engaged for a long time on this.”
Patterson then read a proclamation stating Sept. 20 through Sept. 24, 2021 is National Clean Energy Week in Athens. He encouraged OU, Athens businesses and citizens to implement clean energy technology when possible
An ordinance was approved by Council to use a Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council community grant to purchase an electric bus for the Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action program. That goes along with the mayor’s goal of lessening emissions, and Council believes it is a step in the right direction.
“The city administration, the mayor, really wants to electrify the city fleet, so he wants to really move to have electric vehicles for the police department, the Engineering and Public Works Department, because transportation is a big part of that, obviously, emissions problem. In a lot of ways the city is trying to move us towards a cleaner future,” Crowl said.
Councilman Jeff Risner, D-2nd Ward, introduced an amendment to an ordinance that would allow citizens a day in court to argue their case for minor misdemeanors. Risner mentioned it is important to give citizens a chance for even small citations, and the ordinance was approved.
A motion introduced by Crowl to approve the $35,000 purchase of road salt that was deemed necessary for winter 2021 was approved by Council.
Following that, Patterson requested to suspend the rules of Council to hire a new director of Arts, Parks and Recreation in a timely manner. However, the motion was denied. Risner believed there was no public emergency for the suspension of rules. Patterson disagreed and said because the position has been vacant since Aug. 13th, that is a long time to not have a director.
Council suspended the rules to approve an ordinance to purchase a $61,200 dump truck for the city. The ordinance was up for first reading again because the previously approved model of dump truck is no longer available for purchase. The new dump truck costs an additional $1,200.