2/1/21 West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis at a City Council meeting Feb 1.

Monday's West Lafayette City Council meeting addressed a host of topics ranging from disaster preparedness to the city's mask mandate.

Also discussed were Purdue's wastewater usage and an upcoming rally against Asian hate.

Stop Asian Hate Rally

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis expressed his support for the Stop Asian Hate Rally taking place on Saturday outside city hall.

“I’ll be there and I hope to see you all there,” Dennis said to the council members.

Dennis had previously released an official statement condemning hate crimes against Asians.

“We are proud of the diversity of our city and appreciate the contributions made by Asian Americans and Asian members of our community,” the statement reads. Dennis went on to condemn the recent Atlanta shooting that resulted in the deaths of eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

Masks

Dennis also said he intends to continue the city’s mask mandate, in line with the council’s vote last month. This comes after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's decision to change the state’s mask order to a mask advisory, effective Tuesday.

“We’re gonna keep 'em,” Dennis said. “My intention is to hold the mask ordinance at least another month and then we’ll see where things go. Doing the right thing right now is maintaining the mask mandate.”

Disaster preparedness

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Need presented his idea for Rapid Damage Assessment, which he wrote and defended as part of an executive fire officer program.

Need’s project outlines the handling of “non-routine” calls, such as natural disasters like tornadoes or manmade incidents like pipeline damage. His proposed “Windshield Damage Assessment” triage aims to train and coordinate several departments in the community.

“We can’t have police going off one direction, fire going off another direction, and the street department going off in another analyzing how our community’s been hurt," Need said. "It has to be organized."

Purdue wastewater usage

Jim Treat from Krohn & Associates, an accounting firm, presented the 2020 West Lafayette Wastewater Utility report. He said that considering the last year’s challenges, “the wastewater utility is in relatively good shape,” but also said wastewater utilities have been generating less revenue from Purdue in recent years.

From 2017 to 2019, revenue generated from Purdue’s wastewater was “basically flat” at a little under $3 million, Treat said. However, revenue generated by the rest of the city’s wastewater increased.

“Purdue is already cutting back, saving on their flows,” Treat said.

Purdue utilities reportedly reevaluated the water usage of several buildings and improved efficiency in newer construction projects.

“They strategically looked at each building and the sizes of their meters and made some strategic replacements with reductions of meter sizes,” said West Lafayette Utility Director Dave Henderson.

With the construction of newer buildings on campus, the University has installed newer, more water-efficient features, Henderson said.

Returning to in-person meetings 

Council members discussed transitioning meetings to an in-person or hybrid format. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the council has met virtually via Webex. 

The next pre-council meeting on April 29 is scheduled as an in-person meeting. Members of the public will be allowed as capacity and social distancing guidelines permit.

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