The Bellefontaine City Council met in regular session on Tuesday evening.
At the top of the agenda, the council heard from Service-Safety Director Wes Dodds & Mayor Ben Stahler.
Dodds read a letter drafted by himself and the Mayor to the general public:
“This weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer season. Summer brings many changes about for the city – the end of school, the opening of the Hoffman Pool & other recreational activities, and plenty of planned events throughout our parks and downtown.
Often, there are conflicting opinions about events – whether it be that one side doesn’t agree with closing streets to accommodate activities or those that have a philosophical difference of opinion regarding the message of a specific event or group. The city understands that all people are entitled to the use of the public space, and the further recognizes that all people have the right to express themselves as guaranteed by the first amendment. When it comes to content, the city has no role in enforcing what is said or how it is expressed – until it crosses the line of becoming a criminal act – including speech that constitutes menacing, conduct constituting public indecency, assault, or other similar crimes. The city will enforce these laws when criminal behavior is observed from any person.
Recently, we have become aware of threats or planned counter-protests to some events. While we will recognize everyone’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, the city unequivocally condemns acts of violence or intimidation against ANYONE in our community.
Our police department, in partnership with other local law enforcement agencies, will be taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of all those participating in and patronizing events in Bellefontaine and surrounding areas. Any acts of a criminal nature will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.
We hope that everyone attending any of the many upcoming events in Bellefontaine in the coming weeks have a safe and fun experience.”
In additional council business, an ordinance was approved and adopted: Ordinance 23-25 – AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE SERVICE-SAFETY DIRECTOR TO PURCHASE ONE (1) DUMP TRUCK CAB AND CHASSIS THROUGH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COOPERATIVE PURCHASING PROGRAM FOR USE BY THE STREET DEPARTMENT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY. AND Ordinance 23-28 – A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE POLICE CHIEF OF THE CITY OF BELLEFONTAINE TO APPLY FOR AND ACCEPT A 2023 EDWARD BYRNE MEMORIAL JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT TO PURCHASE REPLACEMENT POLICE TASERS. The current tasers are outdated and replacement parts are unable to be purchased.
At the close of the meeting, before adjournment, Mayor Ben Stahler invited the council to BPD Officer Allen Huffman’s retirement reception.