By Cara Zarecor
On the evening of Thursday, March 26, the Dyer Mayor and Board of Aldermen held its first ever virtual meeting via Zoom, an online cloud platform that allows web conferencing through audio and video.
City Recorder Nathan Reed coordinated the “e-meeting,” and all eight alderpersons logged in to attend.
The first order of business was to approve the Zoom meeting itself as a necessary means to “protect the public health, safety and welfare of Dyer’s citizens,” according to the meeting’s agenda. Board members unanimously approved this measure.
Since March 19, Mayor Chris Younger has declared two executive orders:
Younger’s Executive Order 2020-001, issued on March 19, reflects the March 11 World Health Organization (WHO) announcement declaring the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, the March 12 state of emergency declaration by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the March 13 national emergency declared by President Donald Trump. In it, Younger directed and ordered that the lobby of City Hall would be closed except for necessary pre-arranged meetings and deliveries, that all City Hall business would be conducted through the drive-thru windows and that the Dyer VFW Building would be closed beginning March 23 except for meal distribution until further notice.
The order also stated that the Dyer Police Department would respond to calls for service only, limiting contact. The David Robinson Recreation Park would be closed effective March 20, no visitors will be allowed inside the Dyer Fire Department building, every city employee would practice social distancing and avoid eating inside restaurants during work hours. City employees would also familiarize themselves with the city’s Infectious Disease Control Policy and each department would prepare and submit a continuity of operations plan by March 27.
On March 23, Younger signed Executive Order 2020-002 which kept to the restrictions set forth in the previous order through March 30, but added that all non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses must close their doors to the public and only offer curbside/delivery services. Younger deemed these businesses essential: grocery stores and farms that sell directly to customers and other food stores, pharmacies and other alternative treatment centers, medical supply stores, gas stations/convenience stores, hardware/home improvement stores, retail functions of banks and financial institutions, laundromats and dry-cleaning services, pet stores, liquor stores, car dealerships/auto parts/repair shops and mail/delivery stores. In the stores which are allowed to remain open, the public would abide by social distancing practices.
All recreational and entertainment businesses including gyms, movie theaters, night clubs/bars, performing arts centers and concert halls would close. Owners and employees of publicly closed businesses would still be allowed to enter these workplaces. Funerals, memorials and celebrations should only be attended by close family members. Nothing in the order would prohibit the work of the media, law enforcement agencies, health care services, childcare facilities nor would supersede the authorities designated by law to Gibson County school districts.
During the Zoom meeting, elected officials unanimously voted in favor of two purchases amounting to $3,200 for the purchases of an air release valve for the sewer system and necessary chemicals for water and wastewater operations for the city. Younger also added that the city’s garbage contract with Republic will expire this week, but the company as agreed to hold off another couple of months while the city decides whether to continue services with that company.
Most importantly, the Zoom meeting was held in order to pass Resolution 2020-313. From March 26 to May 18, the resolution gives the city recorder, mayor and finance committee chairman purchasing power for non-emergency expenses up to $7,499 to support continued operations of the city.
Additionally, at his discretion, Younger will be empowered to provide an advance on city employees’ sick leaves “bank of hours not more than 120 hours.” The remaining sections of the resolution empowers the mayor to enact any policy or regulation to preserve the health and safety of Dyer’s residents, may suspend or cancel or reschedule any meetings, may authorize any actions or expenses to conform to the governor’s March 20 executive order and will allow board meetings to continue telephonically as the need arises. The motion was carried with Alderman Ray Carroll being the only board member to oppose the resolution. The meeting was then adjourned.
To read the resolution in full or to stay up-to-date with local coronavirus news and other city announcements, please visit www.cityofdyertn.com.