The Crothersville Town Council has the responsibility to ensure efficient government of the town and the safety of its citizens.
To reduce the risk of exposure to town employees and the public, it was necessary to temporarily limit public access to town hall and appropriately schedule the work of town employees.
Based on the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic information available, the council recently conducted a special meeting to approve a pair of resolutions — one to declare a state of local emergency in the town and one to allow employees to work on a modified schedule.
They were unanimously approved. Three of the council members were present at the town hall while two others attended via teleconference due to the limit of 10 people gathering in one location and 6-foot social distancing being recommended by state officials.
According to the local emergency declaration, access to the town hall is restricted to town employees and other personnel deemed essential.
Clerk-Treasurer Staci Peters said someone is in the office from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to conduct necessary business, check the utilities drop box and answer the phone. Peters is there Mondays and Tuesdays, Michele Teipen comes in Thursdays to do payroll and Taleen Baker is there Fridays to compile utility bills.
Public meetings of town agencies and boards also are canceled while the declaration is in effect with the exception of the town council.
All town departments will continue to operate as normal with the exception of public access to the town hall.
Council President Danieta Foster said police officers are on their regular schedules, but the four utility employees are split up. Two work one day and the other two work another day so all four of them are not working at the same time.
"We split up the utility guys because we can’t afford to lose them. If we lose one and they are all together, they are all quarantined," Foster said. "That way, one can stay at sewer, one can stay at water. We’re not doing extra work at the moment. We’re trying to keep contact away from the public. We’re not doing any extra projects."
The resolution states all employees will be paid at their normal rate as if they were working a normal schedule. They will revert to their normal schedules and hours of operation as soon as permitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal and state government.
Foster said water meters will still be read on the 15th of each month, and the utility bills will go out around the first of the month, but there will be no late fees.
"If somebody knows they are going to be struggling because they are out of work or sick from this, call here so we can help make arrangements now so that in July, they don’t have a $500 bill and can’t pay it," Foster said.
The number at the town hall is 812-793-2311. Residents can place their utility bills in the drop box in front of the town hall, 111 E. Howard St., or pay online at crothersville.net.
In a post on the town’s Facebook page Friday, Danieta thanked the community for stepping up to help people when needed and help prevent the spread of the virus.
She told people to stay safe, avoid being in large groups and continue supporting local businesses.
"To every person who has called to check on neighbors, every person that has made a donation, every person who has delivered a meal, every essential worker who keeps going, thank you," she wrote. "These are uncertain times, but as always, the people of Crothersville show their shining spirit. We do not know how long the health crisis will last, but we will get through it together."
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Crothersville Town Hall is available by phone from 8 a.m to noon Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 812-793-2311.
Residents can place their utility bills in the drop box in front of the town hall, 111 E. Howard St., or pay online at crothersville.net.
For information and updates, visit facebook.com/townofcrothersville.