In a nearly empty room, the Grayville City Council practiced the mandated social distancing while they attended to city business amidst the current COVID-19 situation. In that environment, the council approved Mayor Travis Thompson emergency powers for financial responsibilities contingent upon any future council meetings.

The council unanimously approved to accede Thompson emergency powers in order to ensure the City’s financial obligations are not held up at any time during this emergency situation.

Until the state removes the shelter-in-place/stay-at-home directives, there will be no further in-person public city council meetings in Grayville until the current situation was resolved. The board intended to orchestrate teleconferencing capabilities for the commissioners and other board members, and would also allow the public access to the meetings as is required.

The council had several TIF I/II and revolving loan items on the agenda.They approved to enter into Developer’s Agreement #13 (TIF I) with Outcast Airbrush not to exceed $19,135 with a 50 percent match; they tabled the request for property/TIF agreement/load with the Piphers in order to ascertain the language and date on the agreements were correct; they approved to enter into a Developer’s Agreement with Mandy’s Restaurant in the amount not to exceed $25K for 50 percent of eligible costs, plus they previously approved a $15K revolving loan; they tabled the request for TIF agreement/revolving loan with Chad Alldredge until all details could be hammered out and they approved to enter into a Developer’s Agreement with Tammy Downs for a $15K loan.

There was no new news on the previously reported timber lease issue and Thompson pointed out that one abandoned property was demolished last week. 221 North Third, “was probably the worst house in town that I can think of,” Thompson said.

The council again discussed the rental property utility bills for new hook-ups, and a unanimous decision was made to raise the utility deposit from the current amount of $175 to $250: $100 for gas, $100 for water and $50 for sewer. Commissioner David Jordan stated, “I’m more inclined to accept…those terms [instead] of sticking [the] landlords with that responsibility.”

City Attorney Jay Walden mentioned he will be drafting “an ordinance that does contain the language that ties the landlord to the delinquent utility bills in the tenant’s name.” Jordan then said, “so we need to go ahead and table that then,” to which Walden replied, “I would say you could increase the security deposit regardless,” which is what the council did.