The Red Wing City Council held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the city’s pandemic plan.
City Council President Dean Hove stated at the beginning of the meeting:
“I want to assure the residents that we have done multiple things behind the scenes to make sure the city runs basically like a clock. And that includes protecting our employees so they can make sure that our water and our sewer continues to run, our garbage pickup and recycling will still be there.”
The council passed a motion that included:
Pausing the shutting off water during the pandemic.
Eliminating all late fees on utility bills and parking tickets.
Suspending all solicitor licenses and stopping approval of new licenses.
Suspending contracts for commercial refuse removal and disposal.
Closing all public facilities to foot traffic.
Allowing administration the ability to approve food wagon licenses.
Delaying the collection of liquor license renewal fees.
Temporarily suspending requirements related to sidewalk replacements.
Waving the current cancellation policy related to rental facilities such as park shelters.
The city is working to ensure that needed services continue as usual. City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann stated during the meeting that law enforcement, the fire department, ambulance services, emergency medical services, safe drinking water, sewers, garbage and recycling collection will all continue.
The city is preparing for the possible spread of COVID-19 in a variety of ways, including cross training employees, working remotely when possible and isolating people for whom there is not much redundancy. For example, only a few individuals are licensed at the highest level to monitor drinking water. Those working with water are in isolation to prevent illness.
In the event that a department head were to get sick, Kuhlmann said, it is important for the city to know who go to in the event of an emergency.
City Council members and staff stressed that they realized that the current situation evolves daily so the city’s plan will also continue evolving.
“What you hear now will probably change tomorrow. But this is our plan, our best plan, as of today,” stated Kuhlmann.
Before Hove adjourned the meeting Mayor Sean Dowse said a few words: “I believe that it’s going to get tougher as we go through this. But, we’re all going to get through this.”
Dowse later added:
“We don’t know what the future looks like, but I believe Red Wing has always pulled together in the past to get through things, and we’re going to do that now.”
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