Special City Council Meeting - July 2, 2020 at 5:30 PM

  1. Minutes

City Council
Special Meeting
 July 2, 2020

 

The City of Titusville City Council met in special session on Thursday, July 2, 2020 in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Titusville Fire Department Headquarters at, 550 South Washington Avenue, Titusville, Florida. 

 

Mayor Johnson called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Those present were Mayor Walt Johnson, Vice-Mayor Dan Diesel, and Council Members Jolynn Nelson and Robert Jordan. Also, in attendance were City Manager Scott Larese, City Attorney Richard Broome, and City Clerk 

Wanda Wells. Sr. Administrative Assistant Caitlin Rodriguez completed the minutes. 

 

City Council Member Sarah Stoeckel participated in the meeting remotely (off site), using communications media technology, as allowed by Florida Statutes and State emergency orders during the COVID-19 pandemic and threat to public health and safety.


Mayor Johnson requested a moment of silence. He then led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. City Clerk Wanda Wells read the procedure for public comment and participation.


Establishing community wide requirements for face coverings during COVID-19 Local State of Emergency – The purpose of the meeting was to discuss establishing a community wide requirement for face coverings during COVID-19 Local State of Emergency and approve Resolution No. 21-2020 requiring face coverings at all indoor locations throughout the City in order to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, subject to certain exceptions, providing an effective date and expiration. 

City Manager Larese provided Council with a handout of the latest number of COVID-19 cases as of that morning. In summary, there were 1,962 cases in Brevard County (16 of which were not Florida residents). Within Brevard County, there were 111 hospitalizations and 17 deaths attributed to the COVID-19 virus. The City of Titusville, as of that morning, had 172 cases.
 In addition, 41 hardcopies of e-mails from citizens were received by the 
City Agenda e-mail address and were provided to Council in addition to sending the e-mails to Council electronically.  


Mayor Johnson reminded the public that this was a special City Council meeting and that the public comments must relate to the agenda items at that meeting. 


Member Jordan requested that City Attorney Broome read the pertinent information from Resolution 21-2020.  


Member Jordan requested that the public be able to speak on the agenda item before Council discussed. All council members were in favor. 

Rich Macko submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Macko distributed a handout to the City Council supporting why he was in favor of a mask mandate for the City of Titusville. 

John Dacko submitted a public speaking card. He stated that he was fundamentally against wearing masks. If it would slow the spread of this disease, he was in favor of the resolution mandating masks while indoors. 

Edwin Loftin submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Loftin stated that he supported wearing a face covering when in a public setting and to practice social distancing. He stated that wearing a face covering in a global pandemic when it can potentially save lives was not an infringement on personal rights, but an act of love. Mr. Loftin gave his last minute of time to Council if they had any questions for him. 

Anthony Johnson submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Johnson advised that he felt it was not necessary to implement any further advancements regarding a mandate on masks. He stated that he recommended doing what Brevard County did and leaving it up to the individual businesses to implement their own dress code policies. 

Lisa Thompson submitted a public speaking card. She stated that she was not there to debate on whether or not masks work, but rather to discuss her concerns on City Council mandating masks. She fully supported recommending and supplying masks to the community, but she did not support mandating and enforcing masks and taking away the citizens’ rights. 

Jake Thompson submitted a public speaking card. He stated that his concerns for the mask mandate was for his hearing-impaired friends who rely on lipreading to communicate. He felt that it should be up to the individual businesses to implement their own mandate. 

Steven Bell submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Bell stated he was in favor of mandating mask wearing while in public. He felt that it was easy and simple and something that would not cause anyone great personal pain to slow the spread. He urged Council to consider passing the resolution. 

Norman Schott submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Schott expressed his concerns for leaving the decision for mandating masks up to each individual business. He stated that he felt those who were in competition with each other would not mandate anyone to wear a mask before their competitors. Mr. Schott told Council they were the ones that needed to take the lead in the mandating of masks. 

Ann Swails submitted a public speaking card and chose not to speak. 

Denisse Gable submitted a public speaking card. She urged Council to not pass the proposed resolution to mandate face coverings. She stated that she appreciated the proposed resolution that allowed for plenty of exceptions for the many people in our town who need them. She asked what we would actually be accomplishing if the resolution was passed by Council. Ms. Gable felt that slowing down the spread of the virus would only prolong our community and small businesses from getting back to normal.

Jordan Johnson submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Johnson requested Council to not pass the proposed resolution mandating face coverings as she felt it was an unnecessary requirement. She also expressed her concerns with enforcement for children under the age of two. 

Abigail Rogers submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Rogers encouraged the Council to continue to trust in the community here in Titusville. She stated that she felt the community had already done a great job with keeping the COVID-19 cases low and that mask wearing should be left up to each individual person. 

Lindsay Hein submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Hein stated her opposition to the adoption of the proposed resolution mandating everyone to wear a mask. She stated that she felt that each member can make fact-based decisions to the benefit of all in the Titusville community.

Dan Gable submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Gable stated that the numbers of COVID-19 cases that we saw within the City of Titusville did not back up the proposed mandate for masks that the Council was considering. 

Trenton Mansfield submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Mansfield stated that he felt like it was up to an individual on whether or not they wanted to wear a mask and not the governments job to mandate mask wearing.  

Sandra Vidal-Diaz submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Vidal-Diaz stated that she was opposed to the resolution mandating the wearing of masks. She stated that she believed everyone had the right to make their own decisions on whether or not to wear a mask. 

Angelene Bryan submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Bryan stated that she concurs with everyone that spoke in opposition of the mandate of masks. She thanked Council for allowing the citizens of Titusville the freedoms to choose whether or not they would wear a mask in public and letting the citizens of Titusville continue to be responsible adults. 

Mercy Smircich submitted a public speaking card. Ms. Smircich was opposed to the passing of the resolution mandating masks. She felt it was an infringement on her rights. 

Ron Swank submitted a public speaking card. Mr. Swank stated that he felt the proposed resolution to mandate the wearing of masks was positive. 

Miguel Guerra submitted a public speaking card.  Mr. Guerra advised Council that when it came time to make their decision on what to do, they needed to go to the top because that was the way the law was written. 


Mayor Johnson and other City Council members individually expressed their thoughts and opinions on the passing of Resolution No. 21-2020 to mandate masks. 

Member Jordan clarified that Resolution No. 21-2020 was a resolution strongly encouraging citizens to wear masks. He stated that it was not a law or an ordinance, but a statement of what Council believed would save lives and help slow the spread of the virus. 

City Attorney Broome gave clarification on Resolution 21-2020. He advised that the resolution was a statement of intent, encouraging individuals to wear masks and that there would not be any kind of enforcement mechanism. 

Member Jordan stated that Council was not trying to mandate anything and that they, as leaders, of the City of Titusville just wanted the citizens to be safe. 

Motion: 
 Member Jordan moved to adopt Resolution No. 21-2020. Member Stoeckel seconded the motion. 

Member Nelson advised that the resolution stated that children over the age of two should wear a mask. Member Nelson felt that the age of two was too young and suggested that Council consider changing the resolution to state that children over the age of six should have a mask.

Mayor Johnson suggested that Council direct staff to re-draft the resolution so that the language would better reflect Council’s intent on what they were trying to accomplish. Mayor Johnson stated that he felt the resolution could be misunderstood very easily. 

Member Nelson stated that she felt the confusion and concern was with the language in the resolution that stated “Emergency Order”. Member Nelson asked City Attorney Broome if there was any other language that could be used in place of “Emergency Order” to better clarify Council’s intent. 

City Attorney Broome advised that the resolution was a draft and that the meeting was staff’s first-time receiving direction from Council. City Attorney Broome suggested that the phrase “Emergency Order Requiring Face Masks” be worded differently. He gave the recommendation to Council for the language to state “Resolution of Encouragement” instead of “Emergency Order”. City Attorney Broome advised that it was up to Council to tell staff what they would like added or modified to the resolution being considered. He stated that staff could modify the document to be consistent with the direction of Council. City Attorney Broome stated that he knew there was a motion to adopt the resolution with a second, but his opinion was to modify the motion that directs staff to modify the document to be consistent with Council’s direction. 

Member Nelson asked if Member Jordan would consider amending the motion to say “Emergency Resolution” and to change the minimum age recommendation from two-years-old to children over six-years-old. 

City Attorney Broome advised that the document was a resolution and not an ordinance. He advised that staff can modify the document and craft the language to be consistent with Council’s intent. Mr. Broome’s advice was where the resolution stated “required” it should be replaced with “encouraged” and “order” be changed to “resolution”. City Attorney Brome stated that it would take Council’s direction for staff to be able to make the changes. 

Member Jordan advised that he would like to amend the motion to included requesting staff to modify the document that anywhere the document stated “require” be replaced with “encourage” and “order” be changed to “resolution” and the minimum age be changed from two-years-old to over six-years-old. The second held. 

City Attorney Broome requested clarification from Member Jordan on his amendment to the motion. 

Mayor Johnson called for a roll call vote. The roll call was as follows: 

Member Jordan                       Yes
Member Nelson                       Yes
Mayor Johnson                        No 
Vice-Mayor Diesel                   No
Member Stoeckel                    Yes

 

The motion carried 3-2, with Mayor Johnson and Vice-Mayor Diesel in objection.  


PETITIONS AND REQUEST FROM THE PUBLIC PRESENT (OPEN FORUM)

 

Anthony Johnson requested clarification on the term “Emergency Order” being used in other surrounding cities and counties. 

 

Dan Gable asked for clarification on how the public will be able to access the approved resolution. City Manager Larese advised that the City would post the resolution to their website and on social media. 

 

Mercy Smircich asked if there would be any health conditions that would be considered as an exemption and if that was relevant considering the changes that Council had made.  
 

City Attorney Broome stated that the resolution would not be enforced. Mr. Broome also gave clarification on some of the language that was being used at the meeting. 

 

Ron Swank requested clarification that if this was an encouragement, businesses would not be required to wear masks and restaurants are not required to have their servers wear masks.
 

City Attorney Broome advised that there was not a requirement to wear masks based on the approval of Resolution No. 21-2020. 

 

Sandra Vidal-Diaz asked for clarification from Council that if the resolution was just an encouragement, why put it in written form. 


With no other comments from the public present, the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m. 


Walt Johnson, Mayor

 

ATTEST:


Wanda F. Wells, City Clerk