City officially declares emergency, closes Visitors Center and Municipal Court

    At their meeting Tuesday night, the Cuba aldermen passed a special ordinance declaring a state of emergency in the city for the next 60 days. Immediately after the vote, Mayor Ray Mortimeyer announced several other measures that are being put into place in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    “Just like the rest of the country, the city of Cuba is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mortimeyer read from a prepared statement. “I would like to thank the council for passing this legislation tonight in an effort to help citizens who may be facing some hard economic times to come. We urge you to follow the president’s guidelines of avoiding social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people.”
    Following those guidelines, Mortimeyer announced that all city parks and Recklein Auditorium events are canceled through May 1, at which time the city will reassess the situation. In addition, the Visitors Center is closed, as is the Municipal Court, which will not be in session again until May 13 as directed by the Missouri Supreme Court. The city is also asking anyone who would like to adopt a pet to make an appointment with Animal Control before going to the animal shelter.
    “Work from home whenever possible and practice good hygiene,” Mortimeyer added. “We are all in this together and we all need to do our part.”
    Tuesday’s meeting was held primarily to pass the special ordinance, which was unanimously approved. An agenda for the meeting had been released last week, but it was amended on Monday to just include approval of March 3 minutes, payment of bills, and approval of one bid, along with approval of the ordinance.
    The city announced Monday that access to the meeting by the general public would not be allowed, which was part of the special ordinance. The public will not be able to attend meetings, which will be streamed online and available on the city’s website, unless the board of aldermen lift the emergency declaration.
    Several other items were included in the special ordinance to assist city residents and businesses, including a 15 percent electric rate reduction for all Cuba citizens. The city is also: waiving all late utilities fees; eliminating its three percent service charge for credit card payments; requiring everyone to use the drop box at city hall to make payments, pay online, or mail in payments to avoid coming to city hall; and allowing new utilities connections to be set up over the phone.
    In other business, the council approved a bid in the amount of $6,508.42 for two grinder pumps from Harry Cooper Supply for a sewer project on Trainer Avenue, approved a motion to pay the bill for a new HVAC system that was installed at the police department on Monday, and approved the hiring of a new police officer.
    The next council meeting, which will be closed to the public, is scheduled for April 9.

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