Ferdinand council extends local emergency

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — The Ferdinand Town Council at its meeting on Tuesday extended the local emergency declared by executive order last week.

In a 3-0 vote, the council voted to extend the executive order signed by Council President Ken Sicard on March 18 that declared a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and set parameters for town operations. More information on the executive order can be found at https://duboiscountyherald.com/b/ferdinand-declares-local-emergency.

Since the executive order was issued, the town has also closed the playgrounds at its parks in accordance with direction from the state of Indiana.

Provisions in the executive order will end by vote of the council once the emergency has passed.

The council also approved two other resolutions related to the COVID-19 emergency. One allows the town to change the frequency with which it deposits funds, according to a directive from the Indiana State Board of Accounts. The directive allows the town to make deposits twice a week, provided funds are kept locked in a secured location between deposits. The directive also allows the town to appoint a council member to approve payments of claims should the town council be unable to meet at any time during the emergency. The council designated Sicard as the one who would approve payments. Should he need to approve any payments, they must still come before the council at its first meeting following the payments.

The council also approved a resolution allowing town boards and the council to meet electronically during the COVID-19 emergency, according to guidelines set forth by Gov. Eric Holcomb in an executive order. Under the executive order, local governing bodies can hold public meetings electronically as long as one member of the board is physically present, the media is allowed to attend and the meeting can be done in real-time. The town is still discussing how to hold electronic meetings.

Sicard said the town has not figured out the logistics for electronic meetings yet, but is looking into video conferencing applications like Zoom. The town is also looking for ways to livestream its meetings for anyone who wants to watch from home.

The electronic meeting resolution also gave Sicard the authority to authorize necessary changes to town operations in response to developments with the COVID-19 emergency on behalf of the council.

Finally, the council passed a motion stating that the town will follow all recommendations set forth by the state and federal government with regards to COVID-19. The motion allows town leadership to make changes to town functions quickly in response to changes with the COVID-19 pandemic instead of waiting for a town council meeting.

All the actions listed above will end when the COVID-19 emergency passes.




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