The St Joseph City Council is considering a draft ordinance to restrict smoking in workplaces and public places.
As it stands right now, officials say the draft ordinance is deliberately moderate in approach, recognizing that restricting smoking can be a controversial subject and there are strong views on both sides of this issue.
Officials say the draft ordinance is only a starting point for a period of public discussion meetings.
Officials are seeking input from the public, employers, and employees who are potentially affected to help council members decide the preferred course of action on this important public policy issue. Information gathered from this public discussion period will be used to make changes to the ordinance, as determined necessary in response to public input.
A series of public meetings will be held to present information to the public and receive comments and suggestions. The meetings will be held in the Council Chamber, located on the third floor of City Hall, 1100 Frederick Avenue. Each meeting is scheduled for one and a half hours, and will be at varied times to allow for maximum opportunity to attend.
The city announced the following dates and times for the meetings at City Hall:
Tuesday, January 29 9am
Thursday, January 31 7pm
Thursday, February 7 3pm
Monday, February 11 7pm
Friday, February 15 9am
Wednesday, February 20 3pm
February 25 at 7 pm a public meeting will be held in conjunction with a previously scheduled City Talk meeting. The location will be announced later.
During the month of February, city staff will also be available to speak on this topic to groups upon request. If a neighborhood association, organization, or community group would like to have more information provided, you can contact the City Manager’s office at 271-4610) to schedule a speaking engagement. When requesting a speaker, officials urge you to request it at least a week prior to the scheduled day and time of the group’s meeting.
The draft clean air ordinance will be available for viewing on the city’s website at www.stjoemo.info by close of business today. Residents can also submit their input online. Simply click on the icon on the city’s homepage, complete the form and submit.
A comment card will be available at each of the public meetings. Interested persons can complete the card and submit to staff.
If the City Council chooses to pursue addressing clean air in public places, they will also need to decide whether to adopt a local ordinance by Council vote or to submit the same ordinance language as a ballot measure to be decided by voters.
City Council is interested in receiving input from the community on which option to pursue should they choose to move forward. Residents will have the option of indicating their preference at the public meetings.
All public input will be collected, summarized and provided to the council for their review prior to a work session scheduled for March 5. Council will then determine their next course of action relating to this topic.