Municipalities pass resolutions declaring local states of emergency

Several Blount County municipalities called emergency special meetings last week as local governments across the state grappled with how to handle COVID-19 and protect their communities. Blountsville, Cleveland, Locust Fork, Hayden, Oneonta, and Snead all passed resolutions declaring a local state of emergency for their respective towns.

The resolutions follow both the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency and the Blount County Commission’s declaration.

While the municipalities are open and operational, all municipal buildings and facilities in those towns are closed to the public. The closures include park and recreation facilities as well as senior citizen centers.

The emergency declarations allow the municipalities to have authority to deal with emergency conditions until they are resolved and the declaration is withdrawn. It also provides flexibility and authority to cooperate with federal, state, and local officials to the maximum extent, waiving some of the normal formalities of such interaction due to the emergency nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It gives mayors and councils authority for unbudgeted expenditures that might arise. And it gives authority to mayors and councils to perform functions, make decisions, and sign necessary documentation to initiate actions to ensure the safety and security of their employees, their facilities, and the welfare of the general public.

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