Sunday September 24th, 2023 1:45PM

Mt. Airy Town Council holds 'unprecedented' car meeting

MT. AIRY – In what may be a first of its kind meeting, Mt. Airy Town Council members participated in a voting session from their individual vehicles Monday night.

“I apologize for the situation, but COVID has demanded a lot of things of us we never thought would happen before and this is one of them,” said Mayor Gary Morris from a microphone on the front porch of Mt. Airy Town Hall. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years and this is the first time ever for something like this."

Morris and City Manager Tim Jarrell said the measure was taken to protect both officials and town employees.

City Clerk Sheri Berrong stood on the porch of town hall recording as a council member raised his hand out the vehicle window to make a motion or second, or to vote on an agenda item.

The meeting proceeded quickly as temperatures lingered in the upper 30s.

“In the last two weeks, there has been an uptick in the number of cases involving COVID-19,” Jarrell said. “As a precaution tonight, we chose to increase the minimal standard for social distancing. Because the Town of Mt. Airy is a small municipality, losing any member of our workforce will result in a decline to our service delivery system.”

The meeting included a public hearing on possible USDA funding for a new police vehicle, but no members of the public attending, leaving media representatives as the only outdoor audience members.

After the meeting, Jarrell explained more about the need for finding a way to hold the meeting without face-to-face exposure.

“During these unprecedented times, we are forced to seek new and innovative ways to continue operating in a fashion that allows us to conduct business in a manner that is expected, while ensuring our citizens receive safe, sensible, and timely service,” Jarrell said. “COVID has caused everyone to alter the manner in which they conduct themselves and how we interact with one another.”

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: Mt. Airy, Mt. Airy Town Council, Town of Mt. Airy, Police Chief Tim Jarrell, Mayor Gary Morris, coronavirus, COVID-19
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