GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission held a digital meeting via the web application Zoom Tuesday evening during its regularly scheduled 6 p.m. time slot due to ongoing concerns with the Ohio COVID-19 outbreak.
“Since our last meeting of March 17, we have implemented and amended our protocols related to the COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order from the (Ohio) health director and (Ohio Governor Mike DeWine),” said Gallipolis City Manager Ted Lozier. “At this point, essentially we have locked down all of our facilities. We do not allow any visitors and only essential employees are allowed in our facilities. We are conducting business via phone, email, regular mail, texting. Whatever electronic means we have available is how we are conducting our business. We’ve closed the drive-up window but we are using the drop box for payments, dropping off papers, documents, etcetera. Of course, here in in the office we are practicing our social distancing. We require everyone to wash their hands immediately upon entering any building.”
Municipal employees are making use of hand sanitizer and wiping down surfaces, said the city manager.
“So far, everybody is healthy so that’s a good thing,” said Lozier. “We plan to keep it that way. Now, obviously during the emergency, we can hold these virtual meetings and we’re doing that.”
Among other actions taken by city government, it has closed basketball courts in the city parks, the skate park and the “tot-lot” playground areas, said Lozier. Water systems will not be shut off for nonpayment as of this time due to the emergency. However, the city will still hold water consumers responsible for their bills.
“The city has been able to maintain all of our services to our citizens and our customers albeit it may be a little inconvenient at times for both parties just because of the way we’re doing business, but so far, all-in-all, it’s been going well,” said Lozier.
The city manager said the city would continue to follow protocols and adapt as necessary over the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Lozier announced the recent hiring of City Project Coordinator Bill Grubaugh.
“Last week, I sat at the computer and did the census. It’s very, very simple to do and it took about 10 minutes,” said Commissioner Tony Gallagher of ongoing 2020 U.S. Census tally efforts. “I would urge every citizen to do it because it means money for the city in the long turn. The more names we get on our census is better… They walk you step-by-step and it’s done. Everyone should do that and tell their friends and neighbors to please do it.”
Commissioner Mike Fulks encouraged residents to support local business as much as possible during this difficult time.
Commissioners approved fund appropriations for the Gallipolis Police Department for up to $15,000 to purchase bulletproof vests. The department is applying for a grant which will allow reimbursement of up to 80 percent of purchases going to such protective equipment.
Commissioners held an executive session meeting to discuss personnel.
For more information on how to access commissioner meetings in the future, visit www.cityofgallipolis.com for further announcements.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.