Kenny Massey, John Fiore and Ruth Hughs
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
The newest members of the Eudora City Council were sworn into office at the beginning of the City Council meeting Monday night. Incumbent Ruth Hughs, along with newly elected members Kenny Massey and John Fiore were given the oath of office shortly after the meeting began.
Outgoing Council members Jeff Peterson and Maria Nelson had the opportunity prior to the swearing in ceremony to give an outgoing address.
Peterson talked about how positive he feels in where the city is at. “It’s been a pleasure to serve here. I think there is a lot of possibilities and opportunities to continue to move forward on some really important issues.”
Nelson echoed the comments of Petterson in her address. “It’s nice to know that I’m confident leaving the city council with the three great people elected.”
One of the first orders of business with the new city council was for the mayor to appoint a new Council President. Mayor Scott Hopson nominated the top vote getter in the election, Ruth Hughs, as Council President. Hughs was approved unanimously by the city council members present. Councilman Tim Reazin was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.
After electing the Council President, the next business item was to consider an application for a temporary cereal malt beverage license for a beer garden at an April 30 American Cancer Society benefit to be held in CPA Park. As part of the application, Jerry Donlan, the organizer of the event, was requesting $350 to help pay for a band at the event. The event will be a motorcycle run culminating with a gathering at CPA park.
Usually, the beverage license application is a procedural issue more than a major topic of debate. A sign as to what may come on topics in the future with the new city council, this topic had a lengthy discussion on not only the donation amount requested, but to the beverage license itself.
Councilwoman Hughs has in the past, always opposed these types of beer licenses in the public parks in part “Because I believe that Eudora should not become known as the town that allows beer in the parks.”
In previous council votes on beverage licenses in public settings, the application usually passes 4-1. At last night’s meeting, Councilman Massey sided with Hughs and caused a deadlocked 2-2 vote on the issue due to the absence of Reazin. This gave the rare opportunity for the mayor to cast a vote on the issue. The mayor only votes on issues to break a tie. Mayor Hopson, voted yes to allow the beer license to proceed.
As to the donation amount for the band, the City Council, while in full support of the benefit and the cause, was concerned about providing money for a band. The money had been slated to come out of the Eudora Chamber of Commerce budget. The feeling of all the council members was that, while worthwhile, that there should be some sort of more formal process to handle applications of this type for funds other than a simple request to the City Council.
The council directed city staff to work on a more formal application process to facilitate these types of request. Council Bill Whitten announced to the organizer of the event that, since this was a time sensitive issue, he would donate the money for the band out of his own pocket to assist the charity event.