We are in unprecedented times. National and state leaders, including President Trump and Governor Parson, have recommended equally unprecedented action to protect this awesome country. During tonight’s meeting, the Board of Aldermen and I also took unprecedented steps here locally to protect our wonderful community. Please know, this has been done with great consideration for all involved, and our steps are driven by the greater good.
We have worked closely with the Perry County Commission, the Perry County Health Department, local schools, Perry County Memorial Hospital, and a host of other local partners. The only way the President’s recommendation for social distancing will work is if we create systems here locally that support that goal. In light of this, beginning tomorrow, March 18 and continuing until April 6, we will implement the following:
- The Perry Park Center will be closed to the public and all leagues and activities are suspended indefinitely. Staff will spend this time performing a deep cleaning of the entire facility, planning and organizing events for our eventual reopening, and performing maintenance that has proven difficult to do while open. Some things may wind up cancelled and others could be rescheduled. This will become clearer as we move forward.
- City Hall will be closed to all visitors; however, staff will be present and working to support our community and other city departments. Our phone number is 547-2594 and a great deal of information, including most of our permits and forms, may be found online at www.cityofperryville.com.
- The Building Department will continue to operate and inspections will be done. Questions may be asked, inspections scheduled, and permits acquired by calling city hall or emailing city staff.
- Utility Billing will continue to send bills and receive payments. Customers are encouraged to use the drop box (located in the parking lot) or pay online. For the time being, we will also accept payments over the phone and our office will be retrofitted to have a “customer service feature” added to the entry foyer. We would prefer payment by other methods but will do our best to support all customers, even those paying in cash (which is a known to be dirty and a source of contamination for both customers and staff).
- Code Enforcement will continue to do their part to keep Perryville beautiful.
- The Budget/Purchasing Department will continue to process bills and support city operations. o City Administration and other support staff will continue to do its part to keep Perryville moving forward for the betterment of all.
- The Police and Fire Departments will continue to operate and keep our community safe, sound, and secure. Fire will be fought, bad guys caught, and patrols will continue. Laws will be enforced and calls for service answered. Visitors to the office will be limited and, so much as possible, our citizens are encouraged to conduct business electronically or by phone. Please call 911 for all emergencies or 547-4547 for other non-emergency Police Department matters.
- The Public Works Department will continue to be the backbone of city government. Water will still be made, sewer treated, and trash picked up. Streets will be maintained, and gas will flow. Although visitors will be limited at the public works complex, our level of customer service should not be impacted. Please call 547-2500 for all your public work’s needs.
- Board Meetings such as the Board of Aldermen, Planning and Zoning, Board of Adjustments, and Park Board will only meet if, or when, it is absolutely necessary. For the short-term, we will postpone March meetings and search for an electronic option. April 1st Municipal Court Date (in accordance with the Missouri Supreme Court) will be rescheduled and letters will be sent to those affected.
We will evaluate this course of action on April 6 and adjust accordingly at that time. Regardless of your opinion of COVID-19 itself, please understand effective social distancing will require all of our cooperation. The preeminent goal is not to eliminate the virus, although many companies are working towards that end, but to slow the spread of the virus. If we can do this, the existing health care system will be best suited to treat our loved ones who are affected.
In addition to the above, please do your part. Don’t go to work if you are sick. Don’t “hide” fevers with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Cough or sneeze into your shirt or sleeve. Pay attention to older friends and family. Avoid large crowds. Keep your distance as much as possible. Don’t shake hands for the time being and perhaps most important…WASH your HANDS for 20 seconds and wash them often. It just so happens that Happy Birthday, the ABC’s, or, my personal favorite, the Lord’s Prayer, when done slowly, all last about 20 seconds.
Finally, please remember, this too will pass. We will get through this by working together and caring for one another. As of now, there are no known cases in Perry County. While the 15 or so days requested by President Trump might be inconvenient, it promises to be better for us later.
Ben Bar Mayor Ken Baer and Board of Aldermen