Havre Daily News - News you can use

City Council declares emergency for the city


Last updated 4/7/2020 at 4:33pm

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Council members Denise Brewer, from left, Ed Matter and Terry Lilletvedt and Havre Finance Director and City Clerk Doug Kaercher and Mayor Tim Solomon socially distance themselves Monday during a Havre City Council meeting. The council meeting was limited to 10 people in the chambers at a time with remote access available.

Havre City Council met using social distancing Monday, with five members appearing via video and social distancing used during the meeting, where the city government declared a state of emergency to exist with the city related to COVID-19, novel coronavirus.

Resolution No. 3815 was approved unanimously, declaring a state of emergency to exist within the city of Havre due to the communicable disease COVID-19.

Mayor Tim Solomon said the emergency declaration allows reimbursement to the city of any cost the city incur because of COVID-19.

"It just pretty much covers as far as recognizing the emergency and if there are any funds out there that we expend because of it and we're eligible then to get reimbursed by the state or federal (government)," he said. "The only real expense, and we'd keep a track of it, is the people we have had go home to have them separated."

City Finance Director and Clerk Doug Kaercher said this morning that the resolution passed Monday just declared the state of emergency for the city, it didn't specify any actions the city would take.  

"If at such time, the expenditures go beyond the means of the city to contain this pandemic, then the council would have to pass a second resolution, pursuant to Section 10-3-405 Montana Code Annotated, assessing a two mill levy on the taxable value to be eligible for further funding," he said.

Monday's resolution was just precautionary, he added.

The council also passed unanimously on second reading Ordinance No. 911 changing Havre City Council meeting requirements.

The ordinance now goes into effect. 

Ordinance Committee Chair Caleb Hutchins said before the vote the previous ordinance says that the Havre City Council has two meetings twice a month, the first and third Monday of the month, and the change would be for City Council to meet the first Monday of the month and only once a month.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Havre City Council members Karen Swensen, from top, Derek Eldridge, Sarah Mckinney, Lindsey Ratliff and Caleb Hutchins listen and chip in over a video calling application Monday during a Havre City Council meeting.

"We still have the option to call any other meetings as needed, but in the last several months before the current situation anyway, we've had several council meetings where there just wasn't anything on the agenda," Hutchins said, "so it really wasn't any necessary that we needed to have a meeting at this time."

The Finance Committee met before City Council and approved the March claims and manual warrants.

The next Havre City Council meeting is Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m., Solomon said, unless anything essential comes up and he will notify the council members of a second meeting for the month.

"I'll call a meeting if something comes up in two weeks," he said. "I think we  got to wait and see what happens, but at the moment there's really nothing that we can pass. ... Essential business only is what you are supposed to be doing without the public's input here." 

Council member Karen Swenson said a Safety Committee meeting that was planned has been canceled.


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