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Council ratifies COVID-19 proclamation
City Council

MONROE — The Monroe City Council approved a proclamation March 23 that declared a state of emergency in the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting of the city council, officials met by teleconference and discussed a proclamation by Mayor Louis Armstrong that addressed issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and made it clear that the city was working with all other levels of municipal, state and federal government to combat the spread of the virus.

The proclamation, which was unanimously approved by the council, was amended to say the state of emergency will last until April 20, or until it is otherwise amended by the council.

According to minutes of the meeting, Alder Michael Boyce said he’s “really seeing the community hold together.” Alder Richard Thoman said it’s important for the public to stay calm and accurately informed.

Fire Chief Dan Smits said he and Police Chief Fred Kelley have been in regular meetings with members of the Green County Health Department receiving updates on the COVID-19 virus. Smits said the Green County Health Department is under a lot of stress, but it is the organization that is providing direction and communication on the virus to municipalities in the county and various municipal officers.

Smits said that overall there are low supplies of some necessary items, and getting resupplied has been slow.

Smits said there have been changes to emergency response protocols for the Fire Department and Police Department to lower the risk of exposure.

The meeting took place before Gov. Evers released his “Safer at Home” order identifying essential and non-essential workers. Non-essential workers are supposed to stay home and follow travel restrictions outlined in the orders. Essential workers have similar restrictions to follow, however, these restrictions include exceptions that allow them to work from home or offices.

Council members expressed concern over small businesses that have been either limited or forced to close under the “Safer at Home” program.

The city’s mayoral proclamation included the following resolutions under city code:

1. The Mayor’s proclamation that a state of emergency exists within the City of Monroe is hereby ratified. 

2. Pursuant to 1-11-6(C) of the Monroe City Code, the Mayor is authorized by proclamation to promulgate and enforce such orders, rules and regulations relating to the conduct of persons and the use of property as shall be necessary to protect the public peace, health and safety and preserve lives and property to insure the cooperation necessary in emergency situations. Such proclamations may be rescinded by the council at any time. 

3. Pursuant to 1-11-6(D) of the Monroe City Code, it shall be unlawful for any person to willfully obstruct, hinder or delay the enforcement of any order, rule, regulation or all-hazard emergency operations plan issued pursuant to this section, or to do any act forbidden by any order, rule, regulation or all-hazard emergency operations plan issued. 

4. This state of emergency shall continue in effect until modified or repealed by the action by the Common Council, which the council amended to look into approximately April 20.

Because the meeting was held by teleconference there were some difficulties getting all of the alders into the phone call. Alders Joshua Binger and Donna Douglas had to join the call after it started and Alder Mickey Beam was unable to join the call despite multiple attempts. Alders present at roll call were Rob Driver, Thoman, Boyce, Kelly Hermanson and Tammy Fetterolf.