In the age of COVID-19, meetings of public bodies now have to be conducted in non-traditional ways. The Ripley City Council met via conference call at 7 p.m. on April 21.

Several financial matters were decided by council members Carolyn Waybright, John McGinley, Bryan Thompson, Danny Martin, Rick Buckley, and Recorder David Casto.

Two particular items will benefit city residents and business owners in the short term. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting jobs and finances, Mayor Carolyn Rader proposed some relief in the areas of garbage pickup for businesses and late payment fees for city residents.

For the months of April and May, commercial garbage customers will not be charged. Additionally, late fees will not be charged to residential customers for the those same two months.

Rader explained that the intent is to help relieve some financial pressure.

“During these difficult times, the city wants to help in some way,” Rader said. “We realize the importance of working together. We do hope this helps a little.”

In other business, council:

• Accepted a letter from the Building Commission to proceed with annexation of 72 acres on Academy Drive

• Approved the ESRI mapping contract, in cooperation with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council, which maps/locates all city utilities

• Approved paving of Timberland Drive by a West Virginia Paving bid of $35,500

• Approved the hiring of Tyler Thomas as patrolman for the Ripley City Policy Department at a rate of $13.00/hour, effective May 1, 2020

• Approved the Lay the Levy and rate sheet

• Heard from Chief Brad Anderson that officers are trying to limit contact with the public to lower potential virus exposure

• Heard from Jim Mitchum that water loss for March was 4.45 percent

• Heard from City Attorney Kevin Harris that the Jackson County Commission had received a Heroes Grant to reimburses the police department for any additional expense associated with COVID-19. Harris, Anderson, and City Clerk Tom Armstead will compile figures for the commission.

The next meeting of the city council will be at 7 p.m. on May 12 in a manner to be determined.