For the fifth consecutive meeting, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen spent very little time discussing a potential smoking ban in public places within the city limits.
The aldermen conducted their first meeting of June on Monday and had a draft ordinance on the subject in front of them. But, they opted again not to discuss the subject and instead take additional time to review it.
The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and included other business.
They also requested that the city’s administration place the ordinance on the next agenda as a discussion item only.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 16.
“We’ve provided a smoking ordinance similar to the one the city of Washington has passed,” Mayor Ron Blum told board members on Monday night. “We can start the discussion tonight or take more time to go through it.”
Ward 1 Alderman Zach Fuchs said he had not reviewed the ordinance yet. Ward 2 Alderman Barb McGlenn also said she would prefer to have more time.
Ward 2 Alderman Greg Talleur said he had looked over the paperwork, but would agree to postpone discussion if that’s what the other board members wanted to do.
Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate was not present on Monday.
The aldermen’s comments led Blum to say that the ordinance again will be placed on the next agenda “as a discussion item only.”
During a previous meeting, the aldermen agreed that a public hearing would be conducted before any no-smoking ordinance would be considered. The board did not schedule that hearing on Monday.
During the board’s first meeting in April, Mayor Ron Blum initially brought up the topic, saying he had been approached by several individuals requesting the city adopt some kind of no-smoking law.
During the same meeting, Tate also said he had spoken to citizens and business representatives about the topic.
At the time, Tate suggested the discussion wait until Talleur was seated as a Ward 2 alderman so he could be involved in the process from the beginning.
Talleur was elected to the position on April 8 and took the oath of office on April 21.
During that second April meeting, aldermen said they were not yet ready to discuss any pros and cons regarding the potential public smoking ban.
Under unfinished business that night, Blum again mentioned the topic. Aldermen told him then that more research needed to be done and that the issue should be discussed again during the next meeting, which was May 5.
On that day, the aldermen agreed that an ordinance adopted by the Washington City Council last year will serve as a starting point for them as they consider a smoking ban.
The board agreed to study Washington’s ordinance and subsequent amendment that city adopted about a year ago and directed City Attorney Kurt Voss to draft a law with similar language for St. Clair.
A copy of Washington’s ordinance was included in the board packet. Also included was information about other communities that have gone smoke-free.
It was then that Blum suggested when the aldermen are satisfied with a draft ordinance, whatever it ends up entailing, the city first conduct a public hearing before any law is approved.
The aldermen agreed.
The mayor then said that the next step will be for Voss to draft an ordinance for the aldermen to review. The plan was for Voss to have a draft ordinance ready by the May 19 meeting.
During that second May meeting, Voss said the ordinance was just about ready for review and that a draft of the ordinance was sitting on the desk in his office waiting final review.
He said it should be ready for the board’s June 2 meeting.
No discussion took place on the proposed measure on that night.
During any of the previous board meetings, aldermen have not taken a position on the smoking issue.