Geneseo council vows not to be partisan in rental | Politics and elections

WHAT WE KNOW: The city of Geneseo rents office space at City Hall to Republican state Senator Win Stoller.

WHAT’S NEW: In agreeing to renew the rental Tuesday night, the council heard a concern from Alderman Martin Rothschild about renting to a partisan elected official.

“I don’t know very many cities that allow a sitting senator to come in and rent from them,” Rothschild said. City attorney Derke Price said it was a matter of creating a public forum, and that the city might be on shakier ground if Stoller were to be defeated by a Democrat and the city were to say, ‘No, we’re not going to allow you to rent from us.’ But Price said it’s fine as long as the city was renting on a non-discriminatory basis to permit government or government-sponsored services to district residents. He said the rental was not widely open to anybody and the city would retain the right to refuse to rent to, for example, the Henry County Nazi Party, if there were such a party. Aldermen Craig Arnold and Doug Crow both said they would be concerned if the city were to refuse space to a Democratic senator after renting to a Republican. Mayor Sean Johnson said he had no problem with either party approaching the city to rent office space. Rothschild said he had had concerns, but “now my concerns are alleviated and we can move on.”

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WHAT’S NEXT: Resident Alex Triece addressed the council to say he knew backyard chickens had been voted down before, but he felt with the price of eggs and chicken it was time to revisit the issue. He noted eggs rose 32.2% from May 2021 to May 2022. “I think that’s something to consider,” he said.

Following a closed session, aldermen voted to approve collective bargaining agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police, the IBEW-electric and the IBEW-streets and cemetery. Interim City Administrator Brandon Maeglin said the two-and-a-half year contract starting July 1 called for a 3% raise the first six months, a 3% raise the next full year and a 3% raise the final year. He said the city was asking employees to contribute a little more to their medical insurance. The three unions have already ratified the contracts. The city is still negotiating with the IBEW-water and wastewater employees.

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