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Jemison declares COVID-19 state of emergency

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The City of Jemison declared a local state of emergency in relation to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic during an emergency called meeting of the City Council on April 13.

Passing the resolution will allow the city to apply for federal funding as well as reimbursement for purchase of supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

City Clerk Vicki Potts said documentation of the purchases would be required to apply for reimbursement. This could include the purchase of gloves, disinfectant, etc.

This resolution also authorizes Mayor Eddie Reed “to exercise all emergency powers granted in Alabama Code 31-9-10(b)” as rapidly changing circumstances arise.”

“It doesn’t give the mayor right to spend money … but it gives me the right to make decisions in the best interest of the city without having to call the council (to meet),” Reed said.

Councils are being encouraged to limit in-person meetings as much as possible.

The mayor would give a report to the city council of any use of these powers at each of the City Council meetings.

“There is some federal aid monies available,” City Administrator Shannon Welch said.

Declaring a state of emergency is required to apply for such funds. Funding for infrastructure may be a part of this.

Declaring a state of emergency could also open additional opportunities for requesting aid, Welch said.

Reed said he had been on several conference calls with leaders at the state level, the League of Municipalities and other leaders in the county regarding plans, best practices and aid that is available.
It is anticipated that other local governments will pass similar resolutions at their next meeting.

Reed said he was thankful for all of the city workers that continued to provide services to the residents of the city while taking the recommended precautions.

Also during the meeting, the City Council approved a resolution to establish a line of credit at Marion Bank & Trust. Councilman Rex Bittle abstained. The line of credit would allow the city to borrow money to make emergency purchases, if needed.

Welch said it could also be used for any matching funds required for federal funding received.

Those purchases requiring Council approval would still be voted on.

The local state of emergency will be lifted when Gov. Kay Ivey ends the state of emergency at the state level.