Fairfax City Council holds special meeting to address COVID-19

By Denise Bonsack, Publisher

The Fairfax City Council met for a special meeting on Thursday, March 19 to address their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first topic the council addressed was to temporarily close city hall, the library and the community center to public access for two weeks. Pioneerland Library System closed down all of its branches, so that is outside of the city’s control, but the council did opt to close city hall and the community center to the public until the Governor lifts the emergency declaration. Senior meals will continue to be prepared at the community center for delivery, but there will be no gathering to eat. 

They also determined that city council meetings will continue to take place, but they will practice social distancing and/or use teleconferencing.

A motion was made and approved to adopt the following items as suggested by City Attorney Aaron Walton:

-City hall will be closed to direct public contact until the Governor’s emergency declaration and any extensions have expired.

-The City Clerk and Mayor may adjust city employee work schedules and assigned duties as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and change.

-The City Clerk and Mayor may expend funds budgeted in the 2020 general and CIP budgets in the event timely purchases or repairs need to be made between city council meetings.

-The City Clerk and Mayor may review payables and pay invoices and claims in a timely manner; and for a summary of those payments then provided to the council for later confirmation.

-The City Clerk and Mayor may establish temporary policies regarding the use of special sick leave banks to cover absences due to staff members needing to self-quarantine or seek medical attention, attend to medical or childcare needs of family, or otherwise needing to be absent from work for virus-related reasons.

-The City Clerk and Mayor shall determine whether the April 2020 or May 2020 city council meetings are necessary and/or determine whether utilizing electronic means to conduct said meetings are prudent.

Next on the agenda was a discussion around suspension of utility disconnections for the upcoming billing cycle. Council approved holding off on any disconnections unless something requires disconnection for public safety. The timeline for this also coincides with the Governor’s emergency declaration.

Finally, the council decided to defer utility bills for businesses if they so choose. Business owners can contact Johnson to make arrangements and develop a plan for repayment when the current emergency has passed. 


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