Gray’s City Council met in person for their May business meeting with all but one councilman in attendance.
Councilman Benny Gray did join the May 4 meeting via telephone for a closed session at the end of the business meeting.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Ed Barbee. Council members, City Attorney John Newberry and City Clerk Cindy Yancey all practiced social distancing during the meeting.
In his mayor’s report, Barbee said he was in the same position as everyone else.
“We just need to stay safe,” he said.
The first item of business was a vote to ratify an authorization for the mayor to sign a water and sewer capacity letter for Potemkin Magita Group that is proposing an expansion at Dulles Park senior apartments.
The phase II project would add 48 senior apartments to the complex. The letter is needed for an application for federal tax credits to fund the project.
The authorization was approved unanimously.
Councilman approved a resolution to amend the 2020 budget for the purpose of accepting a safety grant received by the Gray Fire Department in the amount of $3,400. The grant increased the line item for fire safety programs to $5,200.
A discussion about how to bring city employees back to work safely took up the majority of the meeting. Councilman Terrell Fulford said employees were coming back to cut grass, but they need to talk about bringing them back to work. City employees were sent home in March and have remained on the payroll.
He said the city is under an EPD order about a sewer spill, and it needs to comply.
Mayor Pro Tem James Collins agreed that the employees need to start coming back to work.
“We need to separate them to some degree and take temperatures,” he said. “We also need to start smoking sewer lines.”
Councilman David Tufts asked what personal protection equipment the city had for the employees when they were working together.
“They will be less than six feet apart,” he said. Collins said there are
Collins said there are things they can do while maintaining reasonable caution.
“I support them starting to come back to work a few at a time,” he said.
Tufts said the employees are ready to come back.
“But we want to make it safe,” he said.
Yancey said the city had purchased some masks, but they were not easy to get.
Fulford said whatever employees are doing at home to stay safe, they need to do the same thing at work.
Gray Police Chief Adam Lowe suggested employees divide into two groups and alternate working three- and two-day weeks.
“Otherwise, if one gets sick, it’s over,” he said.
Lowe said police officers are on a rotating schedule also.
Tufts reiterated that the city needs to do what it can to get employees the right equipment.
Gray Fire Chief Keith Eisele said the fire department had a supply of masks and was willing to share with city employees.
Yancey said she would work on a work schedule for the employees. She added that, after the employees were sent home at the beginning of the pandemic, one employee did test positive.
“It was a good thing that it was after the city had sent them home,” the clerk said.
Other approved agenda items
• Request to close a GEFA bank account for the completed Glover Lane project
• Property and liability insurance renewal with Trident with an annual premium of $82,296
• Approval of Jason Briley as the City of Gray’s insurance broker of record with Anthem