As local residents continue sheltering in place, Escalon City Council members are handling business through virtual meetings. The latest City Council session, on May 4, featured the council gathering on one screen but from different locations.
City Manager Tammy Alcantor said the meeting also had two people ‘on hand’ for the public comment portion of the session; those that file a request can be called on during the meeting to get a turn at the virtual podium.
She said one speaker represented Shorty’s, noting they are anxious to return the local sports pub and grill to regular business operations, while the other speaker raised concerns about speeding vehicles along Main Street.
“People are still able to reach out and give us their comments and concerns,” Alcantor said.
While no action can be taken on comments made at the meeting, any issues deemed in need of further investigation can be taken on by the council or directed to the appropriate department. In the case of Shorty’s, the business – like all in the city – will have to slowly return to ‘normal’ as the coronavirus pandemic eases, but there is no firm time frame. Speeding complaints, meanwhile, are turned over to the police department for review and possible action.
The new way of doing business has been a learning curve for everyone, Alcantor added, with city officials and council members alike navigating their way through the online meetings.
She said the city is also hoping to reopen its doors to the public soon, though they are working on protective measures before that happens.
“We have to get some protection at the front counter and work on gradually getting back,” she said.
City personnel are available by phone and through email to handle any questions or concerns.
Meanwhile, Alcantor said there are plans in the works to host a ‘Drive In Movie Night’ to kick off the Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 22. Details still have to be finalized but the plan is to offer the ‘drive in’ event at the Escalon Covenant Church, with its large parking lot, with an outdoor large screen set up. Attendees would need to bring their own snacks and stay in their vehicles but be able to enjoy an evening out.
“It’s something that could bring people together but not have them together,” Alcantor said.
She is working with Trinity Church and the Escalon Youth Center to secure use of the screen and they are also working on getting equipment set up that will allow them to broadcast the movie audio on a radio frequency that cars could tune in to once they arrive at the church parking lot.
Look for additional details in the May 20 issue of The Times.
“I’m hoping I can get a lot of it finalized this week,” said Alcantor.
Mayor Robert Swift, who is also an Escalon Lions Club member, said that organization is “waiting until the last possible moment” to issue a decision on this year’s Park Fete celebration, traditionally held in July. A meeting is tentatively planned for next week, with a decision possible at that time.
“If we do have it, the dates would be July 10 and 11,” Swift said.