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Council tables weapon ordinance

January 29, 2019

After receiving concerns from the public that a proposed ordinance addressing the possession of deadly weapons on city property and in city vehicles was written too broadly, the Hastings City Council agreed to table the ordinance.

City Council members voted 6-0 during their regular meeting Monday to table Ordinance No. 4570 until Tuesday Feb. 26. Council members Paul Hamelink and Ginny Skutnik were absent.

“I think we agree, or at least I agree, we need to take a harder look at this ordinance that was on today’s agenda,” Mayor Corey Stutte said during the meeting, requesting the ordinance be tabled. “I think there’s some things that need to be clarified. It was written pretty broadly. Specifically when you look at issues on open versus concealed carry, as well as where we’re looking at enforcing these.”

During the meeting, Police Chief Adam Story said he received citizen and staff feedback about the ordinance. He and City Attorney Dave Ptak will review the ordinance as well as Chapter 21 of the city code, which addresses weapons.

“There’s things that need to be looked at in Chapter 21 and that ordinance; Mr. Ptak and I discussed that, also,” Story said.

In a post on his mayoral Facebook page earlier on Monday, Stutte wrote that city staff’s intent was to focus only on open carry in city buildings, but the ordinance language was written too broadly and doesn’t refer to open carry specifically. Ordinance No. 4570 should leave concealed carry alone, he wrote.

It also didn’t leave parks and other public property alone.

“I understand the intent of prohibiting open carry at venues like council meetings and the public library, but concealed carry should be protected, and this doesn’t make it clear enough,” Stutte wrote. “I think it is pretty evident the ordinance needs to be reworked significantly, and I know staff will be working hard to make that happen.”

As city staff looked closer at the ordinance, Stutte said, it became clear that the ordinance did not focus on open carry in city buildings.

Postponing consideration of the ordinance until Feb. 26 is to give staff the time to revise the ordinance, so the City Council can review it during the February work session.

“I appreciate everyone’s feedback on that,” Stutte said. “We’ll hopefully be talking about this again on Feb. 26.”

Before the council voted to table Ordinance No. 4570, Councilman Ted Schroeder said he received texts, calls and emails about the ordinance.

“We will take a strong look at what’s the right thing to do for the city of Hastings,” Schroeder said.

In other business, the council:

— Unanimously approved a professional services agreement with the South Central Economic Development District for grant administration of a $205,000 Community Development Block Grant. The requested funds will be utilized to provide economic development assistance to Shabri, LLC for the purchase of equipment to be used in a company expansion.

— Unanimously approved moving the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, to Tuesday, Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

— Unanimously approved tabling awarding a bid for storage shelving for the Hastings Museum lower level collection storage renovation to give staff more time to review bids.

— Unanimously approved a five-year lease agreement with Dell Financial Services LLC for computer server and storage equipment at both the Hastings Utilities office at 1228 N. Denver Ave. and the city office at 220 N. Hastings Ave. The agreement includes annual payments.

— Unanimously approved the reallocation of the $128,571 balance of two loans in the city of Hastings’ Economic Development Program income Fund.

— Unanimously approved the following City Council liaison appointments:

Butch Eley, fire pension committee

Butch Eley, joint city-county board

Butch Eley, utility advisory board

Cory Stutte, Mayor’s Youth Council

Ginny Skutnik, city tree board

Ginny Skutnik, museum board

Jeniffer Beahm, Mayor’s Youth Council

Jeniffer Beahm, joint city-county board

Chuck Rosenberg, fire pension committee

Chuck Rosenberg, Little Blue Natural Resources District

Ted Schroeder, police pension committee

Ted Schroeder, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce

Ted Schroeder, electrical exam board

Paul Hamelink, Airport Advisory Board

Paul Hamelink, police pension committee

Paul Hamelink, joint city-county board

Matt Fong, library board

Matt Fong, Hastings Economic Development Corp.

Scott Snell, Mechanical Examining Board

Scott Snell, Hastings Public Access Channel

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