May Council Message by Gerri Harbison
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the City of Montgomery made history. Montgomery City Council and Staff conducted our first-ever conference call meeting with a resolution voted on remotely. This is typically not allowed, but the Attorney General granted permission for municipalities to be able to conduct business virtually during the pandemic.
The resolution declared an emergency in the City due to the coronavirus; COVID 19. It passed unanimously. This was not to incite panic but strictly administrative to have measures in place going forward should they be needed. Citizen participation was encouraged, and access to the conference call was publicly posted on the City website. In fact, one citizen listened in and sent feedback to us through the website! Thanks, Mike Schenker! We will continue virtual meetings through the end of April, constantly re-evaluating how to serve our community best.
The deadline for this column is about a month prior to publication. We have just been ordered to shelter at home through April 30 by Governor Dewine as I write these words. Despite multiple daily briefings, none of us know where we are heading. The phrases “uncharted territory” and “unprecedented times” float around daily. And as tired as I am getting of hearing these terms, they are very real. Please rest assured that we are very blessed to have the City team we have in place.
City Manager Brian Riblet and Assistant City Manager Tracy Roblero are doing a fabulous job of staying on top of all the daily – and sometimes, minute to minute – changes. The City of Montgomery is open for business. While our doors to City Hall are closed effective March 23, our committed and dedicated City Hall staff are available by phone and email, thanks to today’s technology. Our outstanding Public Works, Fire and Police personnel continue to serve the community while still taking appropriate measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.
We are actively working with the Montgomery Ohio Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses as much as possible. As this recedes and doors to businesses are reopened, we will be here to patronize your business. Please feel free to drop us a line and let us know your needs. We will come out of this together, and we will all be stronger—because that is what we do!