After an extended and heated debate, the Cairo City Council approved a motion to create the position of Emergency Manager in the City of Cairo.
The vote was 4-3 yes with Mayor Tyrone Coleman breaking the tie. The vote was the same when Coleman moved to appoint Phillip Matthews to the position. Opposition came from councilpersons Thomas Simpson, Linda Jackson and Richard Pitcher.
These two decisions came after the Council heard a presentation from Region 11 Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Brackmyer. Brackmyer explained the process and the significance of a community becoming certified by the Illinois
Public Works Mutual Aid Agreement. He stressed that while the County can be relied on for help, it is the responsibility of every level government to be prepared.
Jackson said while she is in favor of Cairo being prepared she was uncomfortable with the creation of the new position.
“We just can’t afford another position,” Jackson said. Jackson favored working with the County to create a plan. However the Mayor stressed that Cairo should create a plan that could be interwoven with the County’s and urged the Council to move forward with becoming emergency prepared.
“If something were to happen like in the past, we would have nothing,” Coleman said.
Councilperson Elbert Purchase sided with the Mayor.
“We’ve got to be self sufficient,” he said.
The City Council will negotiate and vote on a salary for Matthews at a later date.
The Council also voted to approve a motion which had been tabled since its Dec. 20, 2012 meeting. The motion modifies a portion of the City Code regarding unfit dwellings.
The amendment shortens the period of time those served with a condemnation notice have to seek a court appeal as well as closes loopholes that allowed property owners to do bare minimum repairs on a property to remove it from the condemned list. The amendment also brings the City Code up to date with state statutes.
The City Council will have a special meeting Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. to consider and take action on a supplemental resolution for maintenance of streets and highways by a municipality under the Illinois Highway Code.
–Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242