P.C. mayor wants to carry gun at city hall

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Plain City Mayor Darrin Lane is asking village council to allow him and possibly citizens, to carry a concealed weapon inside city hall. Currently, even permit holders are not allowed to carry weapons into village buildings. Council currently holds its public meeting in the Pleasant Valley Fire District station house. Weapons are prohibited in the building with a second sign specifically prohibiting guns.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
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Plain City Mayor Darrin Lane has asked village council for permission to carry a gun in city hall.
“A lot of the things we deal with, when people come in, are delicate,” Lane said.
He said people can be upset when they come to the village offices and he would like to be able to protect himself.
Currently, the village prohibits guns in village hall or any municipal building even if the carrier has a concealed carry permit. Guns are allowed in Pastime Park and a change to state law earlier this year means visitors and village employees with a permit to carry a concealed weapon are allowed to bring guns onto village parking lots and leave them locked in their personal vehicles.
Council President Pro-Tem John Rucker said council cannot create a special standard for the mayor.
“I think if we are going to let you carry, we ought to allow any citizen to,” Rucker said. “No citizen is better than any other.”
Lane agreed and said anyone with a concealed weapons permit should be allowed to carry a gun in the village hall.
Plain City Police Chief Dale McKee asked if citizens would be allowed to bring guns to council meetings. Currently council meets in the Pleasant Valley Joint Fire District Station, which prohibits weapons, however council has expressed interest in eventually moving the meetings back to village hall.
The mayor looked at village solicitor Paul Lafayette and acknowledged that he and his firm have advised against allowing guns in the village hall.
“Nothing against your firm, but I am not willing to put my life in the hands of your firm,” Lane said.
Lafayette said he is an attorney and lawyers, “live in worst case scenarios.”
Kennedy said it was the mayor who was living in the worst-case scenario. He said no one has ever been threatened with a gun in village hall and while it could happen, it has never in the past. He said if everyone planned for the worst possible scenario each day, no one would ever leave their home.
He said it is the presence of a gun that escalates the possibility of that worst-case scenario.
“The more readily available a firearm is, whether it is you or a citizen, you increase the risk,” Kennedy said.
Council members question if the village could be held responsible for a tragedy. Lafayette said because it is legal for permit holders to carry a concealed weapon, the villages exposure likely wouldn’t change.
Lafayette said the village needs to see how the move could impact liability insurance. Village Fiscal Office Renee Sonnett said she does not know if the insurance would even cover the guns in the office.
Council did not make a decision on the matter and Sonnett said she would look into the options.
In other news:
– Council member Nick Kennedy suggested the village stop spraying for mosquitos.
“Mosquitos can be much better controlled through education than by spraying chemicals into the air,” Kennedy said.
Council member Leslie Perkins asked if the chemicals that control mosquitos are detrimental to bees. Vaughn said it could harm bees. Rucker, who has a beehive at his home, told council that he has asked the spraying be done after dark near his home.
“Once they are in the hive, it doesn’t really bother them,” Rucker said.
Vaughn said the village pays about $3,000 a year to spray for mosquitos. He said the village has one more spraying for the season.
“I’d like to see us end it,” Kennedy said.
Council members asked Kennedy to forward information about mosquito spraying. Council agreed to discuss the matter at its Aug. 28 meeting.
– Resident Eric Medicci asked council about a potential agreement with Columbus for water and sewer services.
“Everything that I have heard is based on the assumption of a number of houses being built,” Medicci said.
Village officials have said they expect that in 20 years the village will grow from 1,646 taps to about 8,000 if they contract with the city of Columbus. Based on those numbers, officials say contracting with Columbus will save the village about $191 million over the next 20 years compared to using Marysville water and sewer.
Medicci said assuming development will happen, has gotten the village into financial difficulty in the past.
Village officials said the growth is based on projections, but the savings could be scaled to the growth so even if the village does not grow the way engineers anticipate, Columbus is still the better option for the village.
He asked how Marysville and Columbus compared if tap fees were taken out of the equation. He said as a water customer, the actual utility rates were his biggest concern.
“It would be a lot less expensive if we went with Columbus over Marysville,” Lane said.
Rucker explained that while the village anticipates the growth, it is trying to hedge against a downturn in the economy. He said if all the growth occurs as expected, building its own water and sewer facilities is the best option for the village. He said using Columbus is the most responsible financial option for the village and its residents.



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