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New emergency ordinance

Mayor will have power to impose curfews, other regulations

SALUDA—The City of Saluda approved a new local emergency ordinance this week that gives the mayor the authority, during states of emergencies, to impose limitations, including issuing curfews, limiting businesses and restricting alcohol.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday virtually.

Saluda City Manager Jonathan Cannon said Saluda has been operating its emergencies using motions by the full board.

“With this most recent pandemic and some of the emergencies we’ve had over the past year, it really behooves the city to have a local emergency ordinance in place,” Cannon said.

Cannon said the emergency ordinance still maintains that the mayor be the one to declare states of emergency and empowers the city, if necessary to do things like impose curfews.

Commissioners discussed the implications of the local emergency ordinance at length during the virtual meeting.

Commissioners asked what class 2 and 3 misdemeanors were included in the ordinance. City attorney Jana Berg explained that a class 2 is the next to highest level and has a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Mayor Fred Baisden asked if the wording for the ordinance came from the North Carolina School of Government. Berg said it came from North Carolina statutes and a lot of the language came from the school of government.

Berg said the ordinance gives the mayor the power to do such things as close businesses, limit travel and limit alcohol sales if needed.

Commissioner Paul Marion questioned what the board of commissioners’ role is in the ordinance.

Marion said Tuesday’s meeting proves the board can get together. He said he is not concerned about the current mayor but does worry about future mayors.

“If another mayor declares something would the board be able to override that,” Marion asked.

Berg said in the event the city has a “rogue” mayor, then the majority of the board can rescind that mayor’s decisions.