Naperville City Council discussed face coverings last night after multiple public speakers pushed for a mandate to wear them when out in public.
Council was unanimous in agreeing that masks are an easy way to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of an ordinance requiring them, they suggested more signage, working with other organizations like the Naperville Park District and Downtown Naperville Alliance, and maybe even public service announcements.
“We can encourage people to be part of a safer business and restaurant environment if we get people who will voluntarily wear masks,” said Councilwoman Judy Brodhead.
City staff will look into all those options.
New Boards and Commissions
Council also considered creating multiple new city boards, including a public art program that would work to bring projects to the city.
Naperville’s public art was scrutinized last month when some identified that the downtown mural “Naperville Loves a Parade” contains very little diversity.
Century Walk Involved
That piece was commissioned by the Century Walk, who has been involved in discussions about the new board.
“Definitely an appreciation for what Century Walk has already done, but I’d like to see them at the table along with other organizations that represent not just different parts of the city but different demographics racially, culturally, religiously, that would have a seat at the table,” said Councilman Benny White.
A public art task force had been discussed before the campaign involving Naperville Loves a Parade, but was put on hold due to COVID-19.
There was more disagreement, however, on whether to hire a consultant to help jumpstart the program.
Council will solicit proposals from consultants before voting on whether one should be hired.
The dais also directed staff to begin the process of creating a Human Rights Commission to deal with housing issues and hiring a new employee to deal with similar cases.
A youth task force or board will be created as well, as a way to bring more young voices forward.
The meeting wrapped up with a presentation on Naperville’s current financial situation.
City staff said Naperville is in better shape than last month thanks to the state moving into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan and CARES Act funds. That led to an updated projection of revenue loss of $12 million, rather than the $18 million estimate from early April.
Council also said they’d be okay taking measures to ease the city’s financial pressure.
“If ever there were a time to dip into a rainy day fund, it’s now,” said Mayor Steve Chirico. “I am very comfortable with suspending requirement to have a structural balanced budget which will allow our staff to use cash reserves if needed.”
City staff will provide another financial update at the August council meeting.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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