This is an important update about Ordinance 5073.
But before getting into the details of this update, the City would like to clarify what transpired the night of the council meeting Monday, Dec. 7:
City Officials determined after the meeting—and after the broadcast of that meeting—that the ordinance was not approved on second reading on the same night. According to state statute, an ordinance must have unanimous consent to go to second reading, and two thirds of the votes from the governing body for it to be approved on the same night.
Since the council did not have two thirds of the votes, the ordinance could only be passed on first reading. Therefore, it has not been formally adopted.
The Council meeting has helped open the door for productive dialog on this public health issue. The City has reached out to the business community and several have reached back.
“As I said in the meeting, passing this ordinance for the sake of fining businesses was not our end goal,” Mayor Stutsman said. “Due to these encouraging discussions and not only our community’s desire to listen to our ideas, but to bring some of their own, I will be placing a hold on the second reading of Ordinance 5073.”
Over the next couple of weeks, the City of Goshen will be joining the Goshen Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders to continue this discussion. The City and Chamber will use their energy on focused education and outreach to businesses. Informational packets, direct consultations, and on-site visits will be utilized.
“A number of businesses have expressed their understanding of the need to adopt further measures to mitigate the spread,” Chamber of Commerce President Nick Kieffer said. “We have come a long way in understanding the importance of reducing the spread, and maybe now we are at the point where, if we continue this effort to educate businesses and organizations, our community will be stronger for it.”
A new opportunity is also presented in the form of Safety Awareness Funding from the State to expand educational resources for the community. Goshen has been allocated $108,000 to be used for public awareness and education related to COVID-19. These funds will help the City and businesses in educating the community further about the pandemic.
“This community never ceases to amaze me with our ability to come together to discuss difficult and sometimes divisive topics and find a mutual path forward,” Mayor Stutsman said. “I am grateful to all who have offered positive and constructive suggestions. I would like to thank the council members who are willing to make the hard choice of supporting this ordinance, as well as the business and community members that have shared this support. I know this may feel like a change of course, but we are working hard and utilizing all information available to us to make the best decisions for the safety of our community.”
Mayor Stutsman reached out to a few members of the council to see if they would be comfortable in trying this more concentrated path in education.
“I am excited to see such swift action from the business leaders in taking the initiative to work together with the City,” Council President Brett Weddell said. “I am grateful to live in a community where we can put politics aside to do what’s right for our community.”