Aldermen Sara Carey and Flo Rowling before the start of the Grafton City Council meeting. (Photos by Dan Brannan)

The Grafton City Council before the start of Tuesday's meeting.

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There was a lot of anticipation of what would happen at the Grafton City Council meeting on Tuesday night, but Mayor Tom Thompson quickly calmed an overflowing crowd about a decision by council person Sara Carey to ask to pull out her two proposed ordinances.

One ordinance was to ban outdoor music and the other to limit Class A liquor licenses.

Mayor Thompson started the meeting off by saying: “I had a brief discussion with Sara (Carey) prior to the meeting. She wanted to make it clear what she wanted to do tonight was discuss the issues in a public forum. She said she was not aware it would be voted on at this time. She wanted to make it very clear that it wasn’t her intention for the council voting on that.”

Alderman Bobbie Amburg asked in a motion that ordinances 645 and 646 be put on file and Carey seconded that motion. the Grafton aldermen then unanimously voted 6-0 to place the two items on file. After the meeting, Carey declined to comment when asked about withdrawing the ordinances, saying it was a dead issue.

Grafton City Attorney Jim Schrempf said a motion to place an item on file that was an item on the agenda means the item is “essentially killed.”

“A motion to table an item would come up at a later meeting,” he said. “In the future, a similar or the same ordinance could be brought back but it would have to comply with getting on the agenda 48 hours in advance of a council meeting.”

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Mayor Thompson changed the venue from Grafton City Hall to nearby Grafton United Methodist Church for expanded seating for a capacity crowd. More than 200 people were in and out of the church at the start of the meeting.

The crowd erupted in a standing applause when Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson announced that the proposal would be tabled and no longer applicable.

Emotions were high throughout the first part of the meeting with several people making statements against the council enacting the two ordinances and what devastation they would cause to Grafton businesses and its economy.

Mayor Thompson said Grafton is a beautiful and safe community and that is the reason he retired there.

“I spent some time in Grafton and enjoyed being on the river and the outdoors and decided this would be a great place to live,” he said. “When I arrived, I was having problems with my truck and didn’t know anything about fixing it and there was a man named Dick Rowling who helped me. I asked him how much do I owe you and he said, ‘nothing. You are part of Grafton now and you don’t owe me any money.' That is something I never forgot. This is the kind of community or town where I want to live the rest of my life.”

Thompson said he believes it is critical and crucial for a mayor and the board to work together for common goals.

“We need to make sure we take care of the residents and don’t increase their property taxes and keep them at a level where they feel secure, especially if they are retired,” he said. “We also need to encourage the business community. A prosperous business community is in all of our best interests.”

When Thompson finished with his remarks, he received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the meeting.

Sara Carey has an exchange with Mayor Tom Thompson and City Attorney Jim Schrempf before Tuesday's meeting.

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