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Village Council

Village Council declares state of emergency

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At its April 20 virtual meeting, Village Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency in Yellow Springs due to the coronavirus crisis.

The resolution states that because of COVID-19, “there is a continuing and urgent need to protect all citizens of Yellow Springs and to assure the safety of first responders and all other ‘front-line’ workers.”

The resolution calls on Village staff to implement a Village Emergency Operations Plan and for citizens to  “comply with necessary emergency measures and to cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans.”

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Council President Brian Housh said Council decided to move forward to declare an emergency after concluding that it might be helpful for the Village to obtain federal, state or county disaster relief funds to cover its losses and any extra expenses related to the crisis.

Housh added that declaring a state of emergency does not change the local government structure or infringe upon villagers’ rights.

“What we want to do is make sure everyone is safe and make sure that the Village can recoup any losses that we incur,” Housh said.

Municipal revenue losses could be in the range of $320,000, according to figures Village Manager Josué Salmerón shared later in the meeting, with declines projected in income tax, real estate taxes, lodging tax, state government distributions and other sources.

Village Solicitor Chris Conard said that he didn’t think it was necessary to declare a state of emergency to receive disaster relief funds, but that the resolution had value as a message to the community.

“It can be used  as a reminder to citizens that this is still a serious crisis and that we still have some challenges ahead of us,” Conard said.

Conard asserted at Council’s prior virtual meeting that declaring a state of emergency in the village does not give the Village government any additional powers.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency for all of Ohio due to COVID-19 on March 9. Greene County Commissioners declared a public health emergency for the county on March 14. The Village’s resolution expires on May 1, or when Ohio ends its state of emergency, whichever is later.

Other items from Council’s April 20 virtual meeting will be in next week’s News.

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