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— City council members on Monday approved making flu shots available to city employees, firemen and council members at no charge.

If all participated and received both the standard flu vaccination and the vaccination for the H1N1 flu, the total cost to the city could be as much as $1,700. The actual cost was expected to be less because not all employees and firefighters are likely to take advantage of the vaccinations.

The vaccinations would be administered through the Community Physicians Group medical clinic in Gentry.

Curfews

The council voted unanimously to have an ordinance prepared changing the weekend curfew time for those under 18 to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. It is currently 1 a.m. No change was recommended to the 11 p.m. curfew on other nights.

Flags

Council members approved a one-year contract with the Gentry Lions Club to keep the U.S. flags flying year-round on the lighted lamp posts on Gentry's Main Street - the flags will have to be taken down during the Christmas holidays when other decorations are up.

The Lions Club offered to keep the flags up - more than 50 of them - and maintain them for $1,500 a year. Any profits the club makes on the contract will be used to purchase eye glasses or eye services for those in need.

The council decision was to try it for a year and then re-evaluate the service and whether or not the flags are well maintained.

Voting in favor of the contract with the Lions were Janice Arnold, Jason Barrett, Clara Garrett, Kevin Johnston, Kyle Jordan and Janie Parks. Michael Crawford opposed the measure and James Furgason abstained from voting because they did not want to see the Flag flown like any other banner and taken for granted.

Furgason called it "commendable" for the Lions Club members to put up and take down the U.S. Flag every national holiday. "But I think 365 days is too much," he said. "I don't want (people) to become complacent about the Flag."

Crawford said he preferred having the flags up on national holidays rather than every day.

Lien amounts certified

Following a public hearing with no comments on lien amounts to be placed on properties cleaned up and mowed by the city, the council certified lien amounts of $288.40 on 209 E. First Street, $294.20 on 502 E. Benton, and $388.40 on 201 N. McKinnon. The amounts include the costs of mowing and cleaning up, legal fees, title searches and postage to mail the required notifications. The liens will be filed within 60 days. Any additional mowing or cleanup carried out by the city at the above properties to bring them into compliance with city code will require a repeat of the original procedure and result in additional liens against the properties.

Library completion

Before adjourning, council members unanimously approved a resolution that the mayor seek to conclude all remaining library repairs and close the contract with SSi before the October meeting.

Community Room

At the recommendation of the Library and Senior Center Committee, the council requested that a new community room policy be prepared for approval at its next council meeting.

The recommended policy would lower the current deposit of $200 to $50 and also set $50 as the forfeited amount if the after-use inspection revealed violations of the use policy. The $10 hourly use fee remains unchanged.

In addition, local community (within the Gentry School District area) nonprofit cultural or civic organizations providing a free public service would have all deposit and use fees waived so long as they comply with use guidelines. Non-local non-profit cultural or civic organizations providing a free public service would be required to pay the $50 deposit, but the hourly use fee would be waived.

Also to be incorporated into the policy would be the following priority in granting reservations: 1. City of Gentry agencies. 2. Local community non-profit cultural or civic organizations providing free public programs. 3. All other uses.

The goal of the proposed policy changes is to increase use of the library community room. The current policy was adopted to safeguard the facility against abuse and overuse but resulted in many groups not being able to afford to use the newly renovated facility.

News, Pages 1, 2 on 09/16/2009

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