Following the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and the state of Missouri, the O’Fallon City Council safely and successfully met March 26 at O’Fallon City Hall, but under drastically changed conditions.
The council members, mayor, city administrator, city attorney and deputy city clerk were present in the council chamber but were seated a minimum of six feet apart. No members of the public or media were present; instead, all were able to observe and listen to the meeting on O’Fallon TV via the city’s website. In full compliance with Missouri’s emergency procedures, the entire meeting was viewable via live streaming and also via a recording afterward.
There were no public hearings scheduled for any bills on the March 26 agenda. Per the emergency procedures, all citizen comments [a regular agenda item for each council meeting] were submitted in writing via emails sent to the city clerk’s office in advance of the meeting, no later than noon on meeting day. Copies of those comments were then given to all council members and the mayor well prior to the start of the meeting.
Twenty-five emails were sent to the city clerk from 24 residents [one person sent two emails on related subjects]. Four asked the council to either vote “no” or table the bill [until the public can attend council meetings again] regarding Fairways at Turtle Creek rental units. Eighteen emails asked the council to vote “no” or table the rezoning of the Lombardo Homes land from R-1 to R-3 with smaller lot sizes. One email protested the council conducting a meeting without the public in attendance and another commented on a proposal for additional rental units that O’Fallon already has reached its peak.
Finally, one email supported and encouraged the council for maintaining operations during these times.