Village Board discusses COVID19 preparedness for Arthur
City clean up days for May 2 postponed
By ARIANA R. CHERRY
In efforts to meet the requirements for social distancing and with Illinois being under a “Shelter in Place” order during the Coronavirus pandemic, members of the Arthur Village Board met using the ZOOM application on April 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm. With many of us being at home, we are all adjusting to using new forms of technology for a variety of meeting purposes.
Mayor Rod Randall opened the meeting thanking Erica Carter for putting everything together to make it possible for everyone to meet on ZOOM.
“Corona virus is changing things an awful lot for us in our lives. To the people who work in our grocery stores here in Arthur, our public works system who are keeping things going in our community, first-responders and fire department- all I can really say is-thank you. We now have 11 cases in Douglas county. I think the next few weeks are going to really be telling weeks. I hope that we all can stay healthy in our community,” stated Randall.
A total of $87,676 was reported for the expenditures. From that total, $21,000 had been spent on the Welcome Center renovations, $28,010 was put towards the sewer rehabilitation and $3,000 was donated to rotary.
Police Chief Michael Goodman reported that there was nothing unusual except that the numbers are much lower. “We are not out there actively seeking unless we have to absolutely make contact,” he said. Goodman also announced that Tim Shadwell has turned in his resignation.
Shadwell has had some health issues and felt that was in the best interest of he and his family. With that resignation, there will be an opening for a part time officer. Officer Matthew Soria has been doing his training online for the police academy and is waiting to hear more from the state, as his graduation has been pushed off for a later day. Presently that date is unknown.
A motion was made to push back golf care renewal licenses to June 1 since there hasn’t been anyone in the office to help process them. The motion was passed.
The village received a phone call from Advanced Disposal about the city-wide clean up date. With the COVID19 crisis, Advanced Disposal had to postpone the original May 2 date. Even if businesses were to reopen after April 30, it would not be enough time for the company to prepare. Members of the board agreed that they would have to wait until the pandemic was over to know what dates would be available for clean-up.
Trustee Christy Miller reported that she has been trying to stay on top of all the grant and loan programs that the state and federal government are offering. She has sent emails to the local businesses to make sure that they are aware of what they can apply for. The state of Illinois has declared the area a disaster so that they would be able to move forward with those grants. Miller has answered several questions from businesses and wants all of them to know that she is more than happy to help anyone to apply who needs to. She would also suggest that businesses apply for the federal grants first, as they have more money available at this point. There are some loans that are forgivable and don’t have to be paid back. Any businesses wishing to apply for a loan should begin by contacting their local bank. Most of the federal loans need to be applied for by going through the SBA (Small Business Association).
Mayor Rod Randall also discussed the village’s preparedness and how they are helping others during the pandemic. Randall first questioned Chief Goodman and the availability of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) was. Goodman replied that they had received PPE from the Douglas County Health Department. They had plenty of gloves, masks, N95 masks, goggles and gowns.
Village Attorney, Kenny Crossman stated that for any members of the community who are needing help finding masks, they can look for tutorials online on how to make their own. There have been some individuals in the area who have been making them for the essential businesses in Arthur. Crossman said he could direct those seeking help to those individuals. Presently, wearing masks are voluntary, but the state is suggesting that they use cloth masks and are not encouraged to use N95 masks so that those are saved for those in the front lines.
Crossman also reported that our area small businesses are struggling right now. It is important that we reach out to them and ensure that we are keeping them in a place where they are able to operate. “Let’s do whatever we can to make sure we keep all of our businesses open,” he quoted.
Trustee Matt Bernius said that it was important for the village to send people in the right direction for the items that they need. “For elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions, if they need help shopping with groceries or getting their prescriptions, we need to keep them from having to get out as much as possible,” he stated.
Chief Goodman said for families who get quarantined, he has worked out a plan with the Ministerial Association. They have volunteers who are willing to go shopping or get the supplies that those families need. Families can call the police department and then they will reach out to the Ministerial Association to contact those volunteers.
Toward the end of the meeting, Randall noted that he was concerned with the number of groups he was still seeing walking in town. He had seen groups of four or five people who weren’t related and they were walking together. Chief Goodman stated that if he saw such groups, he stops and encourages them to do social distancing. Goodman did state that those who were family members and already living together, the police department was reluctant to tell them to spread out. Last of all, Goodman noted, “The governor is encouraging everyone to wear masks outside and in public. If the police see people out, they are encouraging them to “mask up.”