The Berea City Council in a Tuesday evening work session agreed to draft a new ordinance establishing two standing committees and allowing for the creation of others as needed.

If approved, the council will maintain an audit and finance committee as well as a public works committee, both made up of four council members.

The new ordinance was drafted after discussion in two work sessions about which committees were needed for the council to fulfill its duties. Former city attorney J.T. Gilbert had earlier said the city’s existing committee structure did not conform to state law.

Council members unanimously agreed an audit and finance committee was necessary to assist in city’s budgeting process as well as give input on spending.

Other committees suggested at a previous work session included a personnel committee, a parks/tourism committee and a streets committee. However, those ideas failed to draw enough support.

Instead, City Administrator Randy Stone suggested making street oversight part of a public works committee’s responsibility. Then only one panel would review the city’s infrastructure needs.

Council Member Virgil Burnside agreed, saying the new public works committee will be a useful tool when the city addresses storm-water drainage issues.

Stone said he will soon have the ordinance for the council’s consideration.

Committee structure is not the only change coming for the council.

According to Berea’s ordinance on council meetings, only the first meeting of the month is to be a business session while the second meeting should be a work session.

Traditionally, both meetings have been treated as business sessions with work sessions scheduled immediately before when needed, Stone said.

Little said if the council went back to the intended model, it could allow for more communication between elected officials, city department heads and residents.

Both meetings would still take place in the council chambers at the same time and still be televised. Work sessions would focus more on discussion of issues, but if a matter required a vote, it could be added to the agenda, Little said.

By consensus, the council agreed to begin following the procedure at its Feb. 18 meeting

Council business session

In its business session, the council:

• Rezoned three industrial properties; 100 Churchill Park and 103 Lewis Street were changed to commercial, allowing light industrial work, and the Berea Municipal Utilities building at 200 Harrison Road was changed to public/semipublic facility.

• Reappointed George Oberst, Richard Martin and Craig Dollins to the board of adjustments.

• Added strategic planning on economic development and a discussion of the Spectrum study for a possible retirement community to its Feb. 18 agenda.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.

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