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Clarion Borough Declares Disaster Emergency in Face of COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 @ 05:03 PM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

Clarion Borough BuildingCLARION BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion Borough on Wednesday, March 18, declared a disaster emergency in the borough related to COVID-19.

“On or about March 17, 2020, the COVID-19 virus (Disaster) has caused or threatened to cause injury, damage, and suffering to the persons and property of Clarion Borough,” the declaration states.

“The disaster has endangered the health, safety, and welfare of a substantial number of persons residing in Clarion Borough and threatens to create problems greater in scope than Clarion Borough may be able to resolve.”

The declaration goes on to say that emergency management measure is required to reduce the severity of the Disaster and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents of Clarion Borough.

It also directs the Clarion Borough Emergency Management Coordinator to coordinate the activities of the emergency response, to take the appropriate action needed to alleviate the effects of the Disaster, to aid in the restoration of essential public services. and to take any other emergency response action deemed necessary to respond to this emergency.

The declaration authorized officials of Clarion Borough to act as necessary to meet the current demands of this emergency, namely by the employment of temporary workers, by the rental of equipment, by the purchase of supplies and materials, and by entering into such contracts and agreements for the performance of public work as may be required to meet the emergency all without regard to those time-consuming procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law, mandatory constitutional requirements excepted.

The last part basically means that Clarion Borough can waive the bidding process in many instances when it comes to making purchases that involve fighting the COVID-19 crisis.

Clarion Borough Mayor Brett Whitling also said the disaster declaration was also intended to make sure the borough is covered if funds become available.

“We are doing this so that we are covered in case if and when funds become available from the state and federal level,” Whiting said. “We want to make sure we are eligible for any and all funds. As with anything going on right now, all of this is fluid, and we just want to make sure we are taking the proper steps to protect the citizens of Clarion Borough.”

The emergency declaration, as well as a resolution, adopted on Saturday, March 14, at an emergency council meeting, will be formally ratified at the next scheduled Clarion Borough Council meeting slated for 7:00 p.m. on April 7. Currently, the plan for that meeting is to limit the room to 10 people  (the councilmembers, major, solicitor, and borough secretary). The hallways outside the meeting room at the Clarion Library would be considered a separate area and could possibly accommodate 10 more people as long as they are taking precaution with proper social distancing.

Other local municipalities are expected to follow Clarion Borough’s lead in the near future.

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