Loogootee Council Asks City Attorney to Review State Laws on Screens | News

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LOOGOOTEE – Given that Loogootee installs a nativity scene on municipal property each year, can the municipal authorities prohibit a “pride” display during the month of June proposed by two members of the community?

The question was one of many related to the issue presented to City Attorney Isha Wright-Ryan at the Loogootee City Council meeting on Monday. She didn’t have an immediate response to questions, but said she would research state law on the matter and report back at the April 10 meeting.

The pride display was first proposed earlier this year by Tracy Brown-Salsman and Tim Brown-Salsman, who legally married several years ago after the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was a constitutional right.

At the February 14 meeting, Councilor Tim Lawrence asked the men if they could bring pictures to council showing what they wanted to display. The men want to put the display on a triangle of city-owned property near the plaza on John F. Kennedy Boulevard (US 231).

On Monday evening, Tracy Brown-Salsman showed three photos to council members. One showed the city’s nativity scene display, which was in place from November 2021 to January 2022. The other two showed their proposed display: a 2 x 6 foot sign that read “Celebrate Diversity and inclusion” and another stating “Love is love”.

Councilman Carroll Rayhill, who voiced his opposition to the proposed display, pointed out a few years ago that the city council had turned down a request from someone to display the Ten Commandments there.

The men who wanted the display told Wright-Ryan that state law requires Christmas displays to be inclusive and not just limited to Christianity. They said that “opens the door” to other screens.

“If you don’t want any other displays, get rid of the Christmas display,” they said.

Councilwoman Teresa Nolley asked Wright-Ryan if there was a legal difference between city officials who set up an exhibit on city-owned property and private individuals who did.

Although the council promised on February 14 to provide a response to the posting request if photos were provided, Mayor Noel Harty said the case would be filed until April 10 to give Wright-Ryan time. to research state law to answer the questions that had been raised.

Tracy Brown-Salsman commented after the meeting, “We were offended that we were asked to bring photos. But that’s just another obstacle that we have to overcome as homosexuals.

In other cases, council had an unusual 2-1-2 split over the approval of a company to design a municipal website.

Initially, Nolley made a motion to accept a proposal from Newburgh-based Viv. She was part of the committee that listened to proposals from various companies and individuals. The website design cost would be $3,999, with a monthly fee of $110. She said the company has a whole support team to help if needed. However, his motion died for lack of a second.

Councilman Rick Norris then moved a motion to accept a proposal from Hedrick Web Design, Loogootee, which had an initial cost of $5,961 plus $660 per month. Rayhill supported the motion, while Nolley opposed it. Ron Gilbert and Tim Lawrence abstained.

In other business, Harty said Daviess County Rural Water, which buys water from Looogootee, had a board meeting scheduled for Monday night. He said the current contract expires on Friday.

Harty said the licensed accounting firm Baker Tilly had proposed water rates for the city to pass on to the utility.

Public Works Superintendent Bo Wilson said DCRW only bought half of the water the utility originally said it needed when entering into the current contract. He said the city should insist on a minimum throughput of the utility to help it budget for revenue.

The council agreed to send the proposed water rates to the DCRW, but also asked the utility to respond with a written rate proposal. Both parties may need to negotiate the final rate.

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