After implementing an invocation ordinance to allow anyone of any denomination to speak during invocation and almost hiring a designated chaplain to execute a prayer, the Berea City Council voted to potentially approve a moment of silence to be held before each of their city meetings.

This vote, however, was defeated six to two with council members Emily LaDouceur and John Payne in favor.

Municipal Order 04-2019 would have allowed for a moment of silence before the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and would have repealed Order 02-2017, which paid a chaplain to pray before the meetings.

The order was introduced by council member LaDouceur in attempts to "bridge the divide" with what she called a nonpartisan solution to an ongoing problem that has divided the city and the council for nearly a year in debates about including and leaving prayer in the city meetings.

"This policy is not intended and shall not be implemented or construed in any way to affiliate the council with, nor express the council's preference for, any faith or religious denomination," the order reads.

Twelve residents of the city spoke both in favor of the ordinance and against it, with some constituents stating the council was caving to "Democratic partisanship" with the order, or "trying to take God out of meetings."

Prior to the discussion and vote on Municipal Order 04-2019, several fifth-graders spoke to the council and members reading aloud letters written about what they would like to be done for the city's infrastructure and safety. Several children noted making streets and playgrounds safer and introducing more indoor, kid friendly places to play.

When Shane Morris spoke during public comment, he told both the council and the public all parties should be focusing on infrastructure issues in the city, like the children were prior to the reading of the defeated order.

Other business

• Berea student Sandra Sanchez spoke before the council about the effects of climate change in a report after her recent studies in Alaska.

• The city voted to approve the second reading of a zone change at 262 Short Line Pike from A-1 (agricultural) to R-1 (single family residential).

• A resolution was adopted approving the execution of a memorandum of agreement between the city of Berea, the state, the transportation cabinet and department of highways in the amount of $94,999 for replacing guardrails on North and South Dogwood Drive and creating a turn lane on Ellipse Street at the intersection of Jefferson Street.

• Deborah Wise was appointed for the housing authority board in Berea.

The next Berea City Council meeting will be held Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Berea Municipal Building.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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