City Council meets amid COVID-19 pandemic

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell City Council met Thursday in a desolate, empty meeting room amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

The Council did not receive any department reports because city department officials are under quarantine.

City of Blackwell Chief Financial Officer Frank Crawford is currently stranded on a cruise ship near Chile due to the quarantine, so there was no treasury report.

Mayor T.J. Greenfield and City Manager Janet Smith both agreed they would wait to ask Crawford about the city's finances during the next meeting, when things “hopefully return to normal,” they said.

The Council approved Ordinance 2020-08 regarding “Emergency Management Organization.”

Smith formally appointed Blackwell Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink as the city's emergency management director. 
Next, the Council agreed to postpone the April 7 mayoral election to June 30 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following that, the Council approved individual items, which moved all voting matters on the April 7 election to the one on June 30.

The Council then approved an executive session for the May 7 meeting to discuss and conduct a performance evaluation of Smith, and to discuss the extension or termination of her contract. 

Next, Hanebrink spoke to the Council about the purchase of two ambulances from the Chief Fire and Safety company. A box-type ambulance will cost $215,450, and a van-type one will cost $95,432.00.

The Council awarded bids for a new pumper/tanker apparatus and for 1,000 feet of 5” supply hose for the pumper/tanker. The Council also voted to purchase new digital radios for the fire department, which the police department has used for several years.