City of Indianola adjusts to restrictions

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

Even in a crisis, the business of the city must go on.

Indianola Mayor Steve Rosenthal said Tuesday the city is putting in measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but citizens should not expect interruptions in their services like water or sewer.

Some actions taken this week by the city include postponing the city’s youth basketball league, which was being held at local school gyms through the parks department.

Anyone that has reserved the Scout Hut or Bethune Center for events in the next four weeks is being refunded and asked to reschedule those  gatherings.

The Centers for Disease Control now recommends people “social distance” themselves and not gather with more than 10 people, as of press time.

“In the next 30 days, we’ll look at it at the end of that and see if we’re going to do it again for another 30 days,” Rosenthal said. “We’re going to cancel and refund everyone that has booked them for the next four weekends.”

The city also canceled court this week, and Rosenthal said they are evaluating how they will proceed with the judicial branch of government next week.

This could include staggering court appearances and utilizing technology for proceedings such as initial appearances, all in the attempt to keep the number of people in court at 10 or below.

“We’re studying that, but for sure, if we can’t accommodate that, we’re going to have to cancel court unless it’s a preliminary hearing or something like that,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal said the city is trying to bring in an extra employee to help work the drive-thru window at City Hall to take tax and water bill payments to help alleviate traffic inside the building.

“We’re trying to keep it to a bare minimum,” he said.

Rosenthal said the city can accept payments for water bills and taxes over the phone, and he plans to recommend during next week’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen the city waive the credit and debit card fees associated with that during this time.

He said customers can also set up direct withdraw for water bills each month.

The city will not disconnect this month or next, but he encourages water customers to stay as current as possible, because nonpayment can cause a larger financial hardship down the road.

“It’s not a forgiveness, it’s just a delay,” he said.

As for next week’s meeting, Rosenthal said it is still on, but the city is recommending the public not attend.

“That’s only recommendation,” he said. “We cannot restrict. Business has to go on in some form.”

Rosenthal said he plans to have a few department heads at the meeting, and he said he is considering staggering appearances to where folks come at the time they are scheduled on the agenda.

“If we have our board and a few department heads who are giving reports, and limit to them, we will be at the 10 person or slightly above limit, so we will be living up to what we recommend to everybody else,” he said.

The E-T will be present, and Rosenthal said the city is working to get the meeting live streamed for the public.

Rosenthal asks that citizens adhere to the guidelines issued by the CDC when it comes to contact with other people..

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