RED WING -- The City Council approved a declaration of emergency that Mayor Sean Dowse had signed prior to the meeting. The declaration includes:
A direction for all city departments to support the declaration through the implementation of new employee protocols and strategies to ensure public service continues.
The direction for Police Chief Roger Pohlman, emergency management and other designated city staff to request and coordinate needed aid resources from surrounding municipalities.
A mandate that city staff can review the ordinance and make recommendations on potential additional emergency regulations to support city employees and residents of Red Wing.
The declaration of an emergency went into effect on Monday, March 23.
Red Wing City Council meetings will now be held online or over the phone due to COVID-19.
Minnesota Statute permits councils to hold meetings over the phone or using other electronics. The resolution passed by the council on Monday explains that this statute can be invoked “when the presiding officer, chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer for the affected body determines it is not practical or prudent to hold in-person meetings or meetings held by interactive TV because of a health pandemic or an emergency.”
Beginning on April 6, all board and commission meetings will be held via the phone or other electronic means.
To ensure that the public can participate in what is being discussed and passed by the council, everyone in the council chambers should be able to hear the council members.
The number of people allowed in City Hall may be limited, however, to comply with the recommended separation of six feet between individuals to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The resolution also allows the public to monitor meetings remotely. However, it is possible that residents may need to pay to use the platform that the city selects for meetings. The resolution states:
“The public body may charge for the documented costs incurred as a result of establishing those additional monitoring connections.”
“Depending on how long this goes, we may need to have some items that the public would want to be involved in. So I’m hoping that we can give some real thought to a sign-up sheet or something so that people can be waiting outside if it’s not inclement weather so that if we do have to cover something that’s significant, that a group of people want to, that we can manage that we can help rotate individuals through or help stagger the schedule or agenda," Council member Becky Norton said.
City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann had also given thought to involving the public: “One thing we’ve talked about is allowing for a question to come in online or something sent to us in advance.”
More information about remote council, board and commission meetings will be made available as April 6 approaches.