Even rain and thunder can’t stop Oxford City Council.
On Dec. 6, more than 15 members attended the city council’s first December meeting, despite the dark, stormy weather outside that night.
Council prevents smoke shops from coming to Oxford
Jessica Greene, assistant city manager, presented city council with a moratorium preventing tobacco and vape shops from coming to Oxford within the next year.
“The Coalition for a Healthy Community has expressed concern about the high number of tobacco and vape shops in the Oxford Community, and the number of youth who have been able to obtain nicotine products,” Greene read from the resolution.
The moratorium will give the coalition more time to create legislation that will help enforce the rules surrounding consumption of tobacco and vape products. The moratorium will last no longer than 12 months and only prevents tobacco and vape shops that did not already have leases in Oxford from getting one. The moratorium will not close any current shops.
City council members were enthusiastic about the resolution, passing it unanimously.
“The horse is a little bit out of the barn on this one,” Councilor William Snavely said. “A dozen horses are out of the barn, but I hope that we can get some serious work done during the moratorium.”
Meeting starts with two presentations
Although the weather was less than ideal, city council started the night with some fun, with two presentations — one traditional and the other a little less conventional.
The first presentation was an annual report from the Oxford Farmers Market. Rather than showing a powerpoint, members of the market took to the podium to sing a parody of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” switching the lyrics to “We Will Feed You.” As the members sang, another member handed out apples to city staff and audience members.
Michael Everett and Tyler Wash from the McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital followed the song with a presentation on the hospital’s annual report. Everett joked about the previous presentation as he came to the podium.
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“I hope those apples aren’t to throw at us,” Everett said.
The presentation gave an overview on the hospital’s mission and history and also included information about patients served, physicians hired and grants and scholarships awarded at the hospital this year.
“The hospital exists to solely serve the healthcare needs of the community,” Everett said. “That is the only reason why we’re here, is to serve the community.”
Council makes steps toward water softening improvements
Mike Dreisbach, Oxford’s service director, presented a resolution allowing the city to work with Strand Associates Inc. to design and engineer improvements to Oxford’s water treatment plant, at a cost of $1,670,000 with a contingency of $83,500. With this resolution, Oxford will move closer to lowering its water hardness closer to nearby counties.
“I’ve been waiting seven years for this,” said Councilor Glenn Ellerbe, who has made this a priority of his position. “Thank you very much.”
City council members unanimously approved the resolution.
Oxford residents, rejoice! Council waives winter parking fees
City council unanimously passed a resolution that allows Oxford citizens to park at any parking meter in the city without having to pay. The resolution will be in effect from Dec. 12 to Jan. 2, 2023.
Parking meters will show the free holiday parking on their display screens during this time period. The resolution also applies to the parking garage.
Council passes emergency ordinance to take control of Oxford Cemetery
At city council’s previous meeting on Nov. 15, council members voted to enter into a management agreement with the Oxford Cemetery Association Board as it plans to disband by the end of the year.
At the most recent city council meeting, City Manager Doug Elliott introduced an emergency ordinance that will allow the city to acquire the cemetery once the board dissolves. The ordinance passed unanimously.
Oxford City Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m on Dec. 20 in the Oxford Courthouse.