The Sidney City Council on Monday, Feb. 3 voted to add e-cigarettes to an existing local ban on smoking near city buildings. After listening to the city attorney’s recommendation, the council voted unanimously to ban vaping within 20 feet of all city properties.
The previous ban, which did not include e-cigarettes, prohibited smoking within 15 feet of city buildings, explained City Attorney Thomas Kalil, who noted the city is aligning its policy with an existing state resolution.
“Essentially, what we did is replace that city ordinance with a new policy that includes vaping,” Kalil told the Sidney Herald, prefacing “it didn’t have to be an ordinance, since the state already bans smoking and vaping.”
The resolution, which the Sidney City Council passed on Feb. 3, primarily impacts city employees, who are now prohibited from smoking or vaping within 20 feet of municipal properties, such as city hall.
“We’re complying with the Montana Clean Indoor Act,” Kalil said. “The rule is already in place with the state. We just updated the Sidney [regulations] to include vaping.”
Sidney Mayor Rick Norby pointed out the city is now in compliance with Richland County by including e-cigarette products in the new ban.
“There’s always been a ban on smoking near city buildings,” Norby said. “Basically, we’re just adding the ban on vaping to it.”
The city attorney clarified the updated ban only includes smoking at, or within 20 feet of publicly owned buildings.
“Obviously, we can’t control somebody’s private property and people who want to smoke or vape on private property,” Kalil said.
Appointments, Requests and Donations
In addition to the vaping ban near city buildings, the Sidney City Council approved the appointment of Amanda Seigfreid to its Planning Board. Following the recommendation of Mayor Norby, the council voted unanimously to add Seigfreid to the Planning Board for a two-year term.
In other business, Jeff Hintz, the city’s public works director, reported recent flooding in the North Meadow County Water District.
“We did have some flooding up there in North Meadow,” Hintz told the council, noting “it wasn’t as bad as we’ve had in the past.”
“We were able to get it taken care of,” he said, crediting recent equipment purchases with successfully addressing the flooding problems. “We’re in pretty good shape.”
The city council meeting began on a positive note with an unexpected cash donation. Peter Jasin presented the city of Sidney with an $1,100 check from Oasis Petroleum of Williston, N.D.
After the meeting, Jasin explained the donation is for bullet-proof vests, which were recently requested by the Sidney Police Department.
“They needed money for vests,” Jasin said matter-of-factly, noting his employer had a successful year and wanted to help the surrounding local community.
Based on the enthusiastic response from the entire city council after Jasin presented the check, the donation was well-received, and it seemed unexpected.