‘Let’s take these things off’: City of Tifton ends mask mandate
TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Masks are now a thing of the past in the City of Tifton, or at least in city facilities.
Monday night, during a special called meeting, Tifton council members voted unanimously to end the city’s mask mandate in city buildings and to reopen all city buildings to the public. That includes parks and any and all City of Tifton facilities.
Mayor Julie Smith said lower COVID-19 numbers and the rollout of vaccines are just some of the reasons behind their vote.
“And this coincides with the governor’s executive order expiring at the end of May,” said Smith.
Just after the council’s vote, Mayor Smith said, in a joyful manner, “let’s take these things off,” as she removed her mask.
As of Monday night, this ends their roughly six-month-long mask mandate.
As some in Tifton rejoice, what would Mayor Smith say to those who wanted to keep the mask mandate in place?
“If someone is more comfortable wearing a mask, I certainly encourage you to wear a mask. It doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a mask, it’s just that they’re not mandated here in City Hall. Most of our employees and certainly all of the council have been vaccinated. So again, we just encourage people to do what they feel is appropriate for their particular circumstances,” responded Smith in part.
Smith said they are still encouraging residents to get vaccinated.
Also on Monday night, city leaders went over the estimated $43 million fiscal year 2022 budget.
City Manager Pete Pyrzenski said a lot of the money would go to bigger departments like fire and police, but that’s not all.
“About a third of that makes up all of our enterprise funds, meaning water, sewer, natural gas, so it’s a combination of all and it depends on cost but our expenditures seem to be inline and pretty consistent for what we did last year,” said Pyrzenski.
Pyrzenski said the budget is balanced and looks healthy and there will be no tax increases.
The council is expected to vote on the budget during their next meeting in two weeks.
Also on Monday night, the council talked about setting the general election date for Nov. 2.
Two City of Tifton Council seats will be up for grabs come this November.
Vice Mayor and Councilman of District 1 Wes Ehlers and Councilman of District 3 Johnny Terrell Jr.’s seats will be on the ballot.
Ehler announced his retirement from the council earlier this year.
Terrell told us he plans to run again and we can expect to see his name on November’s ballot.
The council also talked about holding qualifying in August.
They are expected to approve these dates at their next meeting.
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