One thing’s for sure: There couldn’t be any better time to be an agoraphobiac than a period defined by social distancing.

In other news, this week Mayor Jeff Gahan redefined the terms of pandemic-era engagement for the city’s parks department, and also campaigned for masking.

And this:

After meeting with himself by fax, Gahan suspends curbside street sweeping until further notice.

ASK THE BORED (IN EXILE): It appears that street sweeping is suspended through April 7, although it should be eliminated altogether.

Having granted the mayor’s request for wide-ranging emergency powers, city council finds itself mostly, well, dismissed. At least one council member finds this situation disconcerting. Take it away, Josh Turner (5th district).

In regards to the city council meeting being cancelled this upcoming Monday.

While I acknowledge the authority of New Albany City Council President Bob Caesar to cancel the council meeting that was scheduled for next Monday, I respectfully disagree with his decision and worry about the precedent it may set.

Thanks to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order, we can meet electronically (as we did on the 27th), and, in the interest of transparency and accountability, we should take advantage of that ability.

As a result of Mr. Caesar’s decision to cancel, the third reading of the ordinance to appropriate riverboat funds to Catalyst Rescue Mission will be delayed. Mr. Caesar may not consider providing for homeless people to be essential business, but I do. Under the circumstances, I believe it is critical to the public health of not only our city, but to the public health of the entire the region. The pandemic has created significant, unforeseen expenses. Catalyst is on the front lines of the pandemic, helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community. 

Among other expenses, they have rented tents so they can separate their population according to health department guidelines. They are doing everything they can to help flatten the curve, and supporting their efforts should be a council priority.

For the next regularly scheduled council meeting, on April 16, I have requested that the following ESSENTIAL items be placed on the agenda.

1. I would like to have both the police and fire chiefs present to:

  • a. Give a report to the council about their department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including any impact on their budget.
  • b. Detail plans for ensuring the ongoing readiness of both departments and for protecting the health and safety of officers and firefighters. My concern stems in part from what is happening in Indianapolis.
  • c. Answer questions from the council.

2. I would like to have the controller present to provide a report on the budget implications of the pandemic, including additional costs and anticipated revenue issues. Evansville just cut its budget by $2.8 million, and we need to understand where we are and start planning appropriately. In addition, I would like for the controller to answer questions from the council.