City Response

Since March 9, 2020, the city has been organizing weekly meetings with our partners at the School District, Hospital District, and Fire District. The city is coordinating with other emergency response teams and agencies; and communicate frequently with our staff. We are committed to provide public services to our community while keeping our employees and their families’ health, safety, and well-being a priority. Below is a list of current actions taken and steps in place. 

Mayor Geoffrey Thomas 

  • May 6, 2020 Mayors letter to Governor Jay Inslee
  • April 24, 2020 op-ed piece
  • April 24, 2020 Mayors letter to Governor Jay Inslee
  • Distributed 2020 budget adjustment spreadsheet to department directors to identify strategic adjustments needed for the 2020 budget due to COVID-19. 
  • Issued six Emergency Executive Orders.
  • Working with staff to respond/implement Governor’s direction from March 30 press conference.
  • Working with staff on Facebook Public Service Announcement videos.
  • Facebook  Address on Sunday, March 29, 2020 – Stay Home/Stay Health & Thanking People.
  • Inquiring with Councilmembers about Letter to Governor RE: OPMA and Council Meetings.
  • Facebook video encouraging people to shop in Monroe with Chamber.
  • Closed parks, parking lots, restrooms, sports courts, dog park, and skate park (open spaces/trails still open).
  • Sent email to Senator Cantwell’s office requesting funding for local governments provide full salaries to employees without using sick level or city paid emergency leave connected with COVID-19.
  • Authorized suspension of School Zone Speed Limits from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm while schools are closed.
  • Suspended collection of Credit Card Telephone Payment fee.
  • Issued Proclamation of Emergency March 3, 2020.

City Operations: 

  • March 3, 2020, Mayor Thomas issues a Proclamation of Emergency (PDF)
  • Passport and fingerprinting services are suspended until further notice. 
  • City offices and the police department are closed to the public beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Most services will be available by phone or email.
  • City offices are closed.  All non-essential employees are working from home effective Thursday, March 26, until Phase 3 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Phased Reopening Plan (PDF)
  • City Council authorized use of remote meetings on March 10, 2020. 
  • The City received 100 homemade cloth face coverings from EvergreenHealth Monroe. These are being distributed to staff to be worn, to prevent spreading coronavirus if the employee is infected and not showing symptoms, when:
    • Working in an area where six foot separation cannot be maintained, or 
    • Working in common areas where other people will be within three hours, or
    • Working in private areas where someone else will work within three hours. 
  • The City of Monroe requested and received $10,000 from the Community Foundation of Snohomish County to provide assistance to the vulnerable homeless population during the COVID-19 crisis, including: 
    • An additional porta potty and hand washing station
    • A portable shower trailer
    • PPE kits to distribute to those in encampments
    • Hotel vouchers

City Council 

  • Confirmed Mayor’s Proclamation of Emergency March 10, 2020. 
  • Authorized use of remote meetings March 10, 2020. 
  • Confirmed Mayor’s Emergency Executive Orders on April 28, 2020. 

Open Public Meetings Guidance

  • Per the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28.7: all meetings subject to the OPMA must remain open to the public through remote means ONLY (not in-person).
  • All such meetings should follow these guidelines through August 1, 2020.
  • Criteria has been distributed to the Senior Leadership Team for individuals to follow if planning to host one of these meetings during this time. 

Public Records Act Guidance 

  • Per the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28.7: all in-person records request submission/records inspection/copying of records has been suspended AND the requirement to provide initial response within five days has been suspended; these guidelines are in place through September 1, 2020. As with the OPMA guidance, it is anticipated the Governor will extend PRA guidance timelines to be consistent with the Stay Home/Stay Healthy order. 
  • All currently scheduled inspection appointment should be cancelled or postponed; electronic production of records is strongly encouraged; and fees for electronic records production still apply.
  • Staff should endeavor to continue to respond to requests in a timely manner to prevent a backlog, all the while balancing with the imminent needs and duties related to the COVID-19 response.  

Municipal Court

  • In custody arraignments continue via video feed to the County Jail.
  • Hearings and trials have been postponed until after May 4, 2020.
  • Court staff are working alternative schedules. Each staff member working remotely half day and in the office half day. 
  • Court staff are available 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to answer phones.
  • Court staff may also be reached by email - court@monroewa.gov

Finance Department 

  • Office employees are telecommuting and in the office only for essential duties that cannot be performed remotely.
  • Phones are on “night-mode”. City Hall phones are going directly to voice mail. Messages will be checked remotely and responded to as appropriate.
  • Over the phone credit card payments for City Hall are currently suspended.  Anyone making a payment for utilities or permits can do so on our website.  All other payments may be made by check and placed in the drop box outside the City Hall front lobby.
  • There were no utility shut offs during March or April and late fees are being suspended for the bills due on April 30th.  May bill for the new charges are being processed and will be mailed the first week of May. With no late fees in May, there will be no shut offs during May also.
  • Republic Services will begin to allow those business that have had to shut down complete to suspend their garbage services until the Governor’s order is lifted.  Further information can be obtained from Republic Services. 

Human Resources 

  • Enabling remote access to computer to allow for teleworking.
  • Assisting employees with leave requests.
  • All employees will continue to be paid. Keeping all employees, and their families, whole as we move through this challenge is a priority.
  • Rolling additional remote meeting capacity with Zoom.

Parks & Recreation

The health and safety of our community is our top concern, and we are doing our part to help contain the spread of this virus. We are making daily assessments based on Public Health’s guidance, and we will do our best to communicate any changes in our operations as quickly as possible.

Monroe Park Facilities Reopening Plan

BACKGROUND 

Parks and recreation facilities, programs and services throughout Washington have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response to our state’s March 2020 “Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order” and public health agency guidelines, park facilities in Monroe with either high-touch surfaces or that promote public gathering including: park restrooms, parking lots, sports courts, athletic fields, play structures, picnic shelters, skate park and Wiggly Field dog park were temporarily closed.  Park facility reservations and special events have been cancelled on a rolling basis.

Effective May 5, 2020, Governor Inslee implemented a 4-phase “Safe Start” reopening plan to the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order and moved our county to Phase 1.  That day park staff reopened limited parking for day use hiking and fishing access at Al Borlin, Lewis Street, Sky River, and Lake Tye Parks.  Under the current Order under Phase 1, only members of the same household may travel and recreate together.  Physical distancing is still required, keeping six feet between individuals outside of immediate households.  Our level of park facility re-openings and facilities that remain closed is consistent with most parks and recreation jurisdictions throughout our state including Snohomish County. 

Our City staff have been participating in twice-weekly calls with Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA) directors throughout our state and Oregon to discuss the response and action plans as they pertain to facility closures and program offerings.

MOVING FORWARD 

The most pressing question for parks and recreation is how and when to move forward.  WRPA parks and recreation directors are currently working together with representatives from the Governor’s Office to interpret the 4-phase Safe Start Reopening Plan and guidelines coming from federal, state and local public health agencies in order to plan and prepare for future park facility re-openings.  Based upon this coordinated examination of the state’s reopening plan and public health agency guidelines, the following is the safe reopening plan of Monroe park facilities, programs and events that were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as our county is moved through each Safe Start phase:

Phase 2 Re-Openings (EFFECTIVE JUNE 5, 2020): tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, skate park, dog park, restrooms, covered shelters (up to gathering limit), sports fields for organized use: limited practices in compliance with Governor’s Office Guidance on Sporting Activities Requirements 

Phase 3 Re-Openings: sports fields for organized use: games & practices, covered shelters (up to gathering limit), special events (up to gathering limit)

Phase 4 Re-Openings: special events

  • Office staff are working from home, available by email and phone working on tasks, projects, customer service as well as completing online training opportunity modules.

Police Department 

  • Fingerprint services suspended until further notice. 
  • The police department is now accepting new applications for concealed pistol license (CPL) applications as well as CPL renewal applications. Refer to the department's CPL webpage for further instructions.
  • Clerical staff are on duty, 8 am - 5 pm, Monday through Friday, to answer telephone calls.
  • Ride-a-longs with officers have been suspended.
  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is mandatory and will be used in accordance with department protocol.
  • Officers may handle cold calls / non-urgent reports telephonically.
  • Disinfectant protocols have been put in place for property and evidence handling.
  • All police department personnel are screened and temperature taken prior to shift.
  • New and renewal pet licenses have been suspended until further notice.

Public Works 

  • The city’s field personnel are working the normal schedules based out of their home to maintain the city’s water, sewer, storm and roadway systems. They will continue to follow recommended COVID-19 health and safety protocols in the conduct of their daily work (hand washing, social distancing, etc.). 
  • Office staff are working from home. 
  • Staff are currently enrolled in courses offered by the American Public Works Association, American Water Works Association, and the Washington Environmental Training Center when not responding to calls for service.  
  • Public Works staff delivered 10’ x 20’ tent to Medical Reserve Corps in Everett to use at drive-by COVID-19 testing site. 
  • Design & Construction Division office staff is working remotely. Inspectors are only inspecting projects that are deemed essential as outlined by the Governor.
  • Staff have refurbished the decontamination shower in the old shop building for use as necessary after close person to person contact.  
  • Staff acquired 3 gallons of liquid hand sanitizer.  15 individual size bottles have been procured and delivered to police.  24 additional bottles are expected by 4/30 for distribution to essential workers.