Ironton City Council to amend opioid lawsuit

Published 8:12 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ordinance would set up group home rules, permit

At tonight’s meeting, the Ironton City Council will vote on a resolution about amending the city’s part in the national opioid lawsuit.

In January 2017, the City of Ironton joined some 200 other communities in a lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors of prescription drugs because of the addiction problems and deaths the drugs have caused the city.

Councilman Nate Kline was the original sponsor of the 2017 ordinance and said there were six deaths in the city because of opioids in 2016.

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“I can’t help but think that if we had six additional suicides or murders in our city, that we would be wondering what is going to happen,” he said, adding that it is not only taxing the fire and police departments, but that there are a lot of crimes associated with the drug problem. “I think this is an action the city should take, joining other municipalities that are taking similar actions.”

The resolution under consideration reads that the city wants to continue to “pursue any and all claims for relief in civil litigation…against any and all defendants necessary.”

The resolution would allow the city to add defendants as recommended by the lawsuit’s attorneys and to add additional claims as necessary.

In other items on the council agenda, the council will have first reading on an ordinance to establish an annual business permit for group homes in the city. The city’s building code officer would issue the permits. Owners of the group homes would have to pass a background check.

The buildings would have to be in properly-zoned areas and be no closer than within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, library, senior citizen living facility or another group home.

There would be a $1,000 fee for the permit and the group homes would go through an annual inspection by the building code officer and the fire department. The group homes would also have to give a list of employees and residents to the chief of police.

Another ordinance under consideration would amend the stormwater utility fee.

Residential homes would have a flat fee of $15.

It would be $40 for commercial businesses with property at 6,600 feet or less, including a parking lot. For businesses with more than 6,600 feet of property, the fee would be a flat fee of $70 a month per water meter.

The rates would be reviewed and adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

Another ordinance is the annual contract between the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority and the police department for an officer to provide security.

The Ironton City Council meets at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the City Center.

There will be a meeting of the Public Utilities Committee at 5:15 p.m., which will be followed by a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.

The meetings are open to the public.