ASHLAND The City of Ashland is heading toward adopting noon meetings throughout the year, a departure from the adjusted evening schedule usually seen in the last couple months of the calendar year.

In the past, the city commission has conducted its meetings twice a month at noon from January until October. In the last two months of the year, the city holds evening meetings.

Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs brought up the discussion item to switch to a noon meeting schedule throughout the whole year in order to have continuity.

“It's clumsy and no one wants to come out at night in the winter time,” she said. “Our staff and our people should be home eating dinner with their families.”

Spriggs said in the 2000s, when she served on the commission, she asked for meetings to be moved from the evening to the noon schedule. Commissioner Amanda Clark agreed that moving to a noon meeting time would be “more consistent.”

Mayor Matthew B. Perkins said the original intent behind evening meetings was to give “hard-working folks who could not get away from their jobs during the day the opportunity to come out and be heard by the commission.”

However, with the broadcasting of meetings on the internet by My Town TV, Perkins said citizens can tune in to see what the commission is up to. He also noted a noon meeting doesn't preclude a person taking their lunch break to sit in on the commission's meetings.

The commission directed City Attorney Jim Moore to draft a modification to the city ordinance pertaining to meeting schedules, to be voted on in a future meeting.

Here area some other highlights from Thursday's meeting:

• City Manager Mike Graese reported work on Dixon Street is set to resume in the next few weeks and should take about a month. Another project on Belmont Street is on a two-month delay due to issues in getting pipes ordered.

• The Commission voted unanimously to approve second reading of a number of contracts to tear down blighted properties in the city.

• The commission voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the 2021 Community Development Block Grant annual action plan and another amendment to the 2020-24 plan.

• It unanimously approved a $65,000 contract for a repair of the flood wall outfalls at 10th and 18th streets. Graese said the outfalls allow for storm water to go directly to the river. He said last year the city was able to repair some in house, but these require a barge in order to do the repair.

• The commission approved on first reading a donation of a property in the 3000 block of Railroad Street to the city.

• The commission approved unanimously for the city to have a video tour produced by CGI Communications Inc. to be hosted on the city website and other websites “deemed beneficial for promoting the city.”

• It unanimously approved contracting a building inspector for 15 hours a week to review building plans. Graese pleaded with the viewing public if they know any certified building inspectors, to send them to the city. He said the city has been searching for months to find a certified, qualified building inspector.

• Perkins proclaimed Sept. 17-23 U.S. Constitution Week in Ashland, to be observed alongside the national proclamation of the same.

• Commissioner Josh Blanton was absent from the meeting, while Clark tuned in via Zoom. The meeting also started at 12:02 p.m., two minutes past from the set time on the agenda.

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