Fairfield City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020, at the municipal building. Council members and key staff attended the meeting, and practiced social distancing guidelines outlined mandated by the state. Though the public was able to attend, no community members attended.

Coronavirus: Fairfield Council declares state of emergency

The approved legislation at Monday’s City Council meeting is designed "to protect the health, safety and general welfare of citizens," according to the staff report to City Council by city attorney John Clemmons.

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Clemmons wrote that the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, may have an impact on the city's ability to operate effectively. The state of emergency will allow Fairfield to suspend some of the city's provisions and processes, which also could include City Council approvals. Provisions and processes could include, but not limited to purchasing policies, competitive bidding, processing of benefits and payment of vendors.

Fairfield City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020, at the municipal building. Council members and key staff attended the meeting, and practiced social distancing guidelines outlined mandated by the state. Though the public was able to attend, no community members attended. Pictured is Councilwoman Leslie Besl. 

"We need to ensure that the city is able to provide continuity of services throughout this crisis," said City Manager Mark Wendling of the recommendation of the state of emergency declaration.

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Additionally, Wendling told Council, “In light of the current crisis, I recommend that raises be deferred until we have a better idea of the overall impact of the COVID-19 crisis.” 

The recommendation came as Council considered a salary ordinance to establish pay ranges for "certain exempt and salaried employees," though the legislation did not directly provide raises to employees.

Other COVID-19 impacts in Fairfield 

Though the COVID-19 has canceled the Community Arts Center programming, most of the city's parks are open, though not all amenities will be accessible to the public, said Councilwoman Leslie Besl, chair of council's Parks, Recreation and Environmental Committee.

"Our parks are still accessible, with the exception of the dog park, but the playgrounds are closed," she said.

Besl said the parks department is also "looking at ways to connect with our residents" with virtual events.

Virtual events could include a Facebook Live event, or a printable scavenger hunt for families to participate in as they are in their neighborhoods.

Fairfield City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020, at the municipal building. Council members and key staff attended the meeting, and practiced social distancing guidelines outlined mandated by the state. Though the public was able to attend, no community members attended. Pictured is Councilman Tim Abbott.

Fairfield's meeting was held as some local governments and school boards held virtual meetings amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

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Council members and key city staff were the only ones to attend the meeting, though it was open to the public.

Mayor Steve Miller said the city made accommodations to adhere to guidelines and orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine and state public health director Dr. Amy Acton. 

"I think it's still important to have the meeting. A lot of people are still going to work, a lot of people in the city building are still working, and I think council should also go to work," Miller said.

The planned City Council work session scheduled ahead of the Monday's regular meeting was canceled.

The 15-minute streamed meeting can be found on the city's website, Fairfield-City.org.

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