TALLMADGE – The state of emergency by the mayor will be extended another 30 days to combat the coronavirus. Public buildings will be closed and personal distancing encouraged.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced April 2 that Ohio’s Stay at Home order has been extended until May 1. For more COVID-19 updates, go to www.tallmadge-ohio.org
Mayor David Kline said the staff is teleconferencing with the council chambers set up as a "war room" where four people, each one at a table, meet and do conference calls with other staff members. They use Microsoft Teams to see documents and each other and will use it for public meetings. April council meetings were canceled.
"We’re extremely blessed in Tallmadge," Kline said. "Dr. Don Cooper, who’s an expert in safety communication, has been working for several years organizing and preparing for this."
The Continuity of Operations Plan provides ways to continue to operate the city during a disaster, he said.
"The city is operating extremely well at this time," Kline said. "We’re looking at the budget, personnel and reductions in the budget. We’re not authorizing expenditures at this time and putting things on hold such as vehicles and some capital projects that are non-essential."
Council had approved the purchase of four new police cruisers but Kline said they reduced it to two cruisers. Although the order for a new firetruck is being processed and won’t be ready for a year, other trucks for the city are on hold.
In addition, the $100,000 repair to the driveway at Fire Station 1 is postponed.
Also residents will not see sidewalk repairs because part of the cost is paid by homeowners and the rest by the city.
"We can’t assess residents for [the cost of] sidewalks when we can postpone the work," Kline said.
During budget talks the Finance Director Mollie Gilbride went to budgets from 2008 and 2009 during the national recession, and Tallmadge had a reduction of 10 percent in its budget, Kline said.
"Our step one was to go back to that level and ask departments to reduce spending by 10 percent, but that’s a moving target," Kline said. "We’re trying to do everything to reduce expenditures and save personnel the best we can."
Kline said they are looking at every position and whether it’s a non-essential function. Some part-time positions are essential such as firefighters, the police records clerk and auxiliary police officers.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at email@example.com