Two additional boroughs in southwest Butler County have declared municipal disaster emergencies due to the coronavirus.
At its March 23 meeting, Seven Fields Borough Council approved a resolution declaring that the COVID-19 outbreak is a disaster emergency. Valencia Borough Council took the same action at its Monday meeting.
Those actions follow Gov. Tom Wolf's statewide disaster declaration March 12.
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Municipalities declaring disaster emergencies are relieved from a number of regulations which are “time-consuming,” other than those mandated by the state constitution. Because of that, the boroughs may hire temporary workers or enter into contracts without following standard procedure for bidding and requests for proposals.
Seven Fields Borough Manager Tom Smith said one example in which the borough may disregard those requirements is to repair a waterline break if some public works employees have fallen ill.
“Seven Fields did it just in case circumstances arose that would make us take that course of action,” he said. “That would alleviate us from having to do that (advertise for bids), because this is under emergency conditions.”
Seven Fields' declaration is active until April 22, though the council may extend it at a meeting, which Smith said may, by law, be held via telephone in a time of social distancing.
Valencia's declaration largely carries the same meaning. In a Facebook post, Mayor Krystal Schultz said the declaration “allow(s) the borough to continue to operate while following the government's orders to stay home.”
Schultz, who could not immediately be reached for comment, said in the post that the borough will continue holding its meetings, but in a virtual setting. She urged any non-life-sustaining businesses that have not closed to shutter their doors immediately.
“The health, safety and welfare of our residents is our top priority, and there will be enforcement of the governor's orders by local authorities,” the post read.