|Mayor LeRoy Burcroff|
Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said that the meeting was recommended by city attorney Steve Hitchcock to allow the city to conduct meetings electronically through June 30. Hitchcock explained that Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state department of Health and Human Services recently suggested that due to the increase in the number of daily cases of COVID-19 in the state, health precautions be continued through April 29. Hitchcock said that Hertel had also cited the number of hospitalizations that were increasing throughout the state and that she had recommended keeping the 25-person limit on public gatherings in place.
“Well obviously, we can't have a public meeting limited to 25 people. We have no idea how many people might want to attend,” Hitchcock said.
He also reminded the council members that Wayne County officials had declared an extended state of emergency last week based on the number of infections occurring.
“This will allow you to continue electronic meetings. The only change will be you will have to, during roll call, identify your location,” he said. He clarified that the location needed only to be the city in which the respondent was located at the time of the meeting.
Councilman William Wadsworth questioned the impact on the operation of the city while Burcroff explained that the city was certainly “open for business” with the current precautions remaining in place.
“No, we are not letting up on the daily health protocols,” Burcroff said. He explained that the city had meetings with department heads, but limited them to small groups and continued the recommended health precautions.
“Last week, we had a meeting with a developer with a small number of people. We still self-check and observe the precautions,” he told the council members.
During the discussion, council members inquired if the continued state of emergency would impact the current moratorium on water shut-offs in the city.
Burcroff said the moratorium would continue and explained in response to a question from Councilwoman Celeste Roscoe that the city would be seeking whatever grant funds available to fund that expense.
He stressed that while the shut offs have been suspended, residents are still responsible for the payment of the bills, which continue to accrue. He said that currently 402 city residents were beyond the shut off limit in the city and that there was a total of about $38,000 due in delinquent water billings.
Councilwoman Virginia Williams suggested that residents could seek help with the water billings and other expenses due to the pandemic by contacting the MetroWayne Agency. She said the agency had been very helpful to residents throughout Wayne County facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. She said the agency could be contacted at (313)388-9799 or at waynemetro.org.
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