Council prepares for city government shutdown
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield officials are positioning themselves to continue operating city government, should elected and appointed leaders not be able to meet to conduct their normal business.
The Marshfield Common Council on March 19 approved a request from City Administrator Steve Barg to authorize him and his staff to spend up to $100,000 between now and May 1 for goods and services, should aldermen not be able to approve that spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It also gives us the authority to continue to do business in other ways – close or curtail serves at various facilities – as necessary to respond to COVID-19,” Barg said. “It allows us to continue to pay bills and payroll without approval by the Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee. And please be advised on the spending – we would come to the mayor. We’re saying absent calling a meeting for a budget resolution, if there’s things we need to respond to community concerns and issues, and they involve buying goods and services, that we’d at least have that ability. This is not going to be a spending spree by city staff. We have not really talked about expenditures that would be anticipated, but one never knows. This is totally unchartered territory.”
The resolution was approved on a vote of 7-to-1, with Alderman Tom Buttke voting “no.”
The council also signed off on Barg’s emergency action plan that closes City Hall to the public through April 3, and cancels all city government meetings through April 10.
“Our world has changed a lot, and we need to adapt to it, and we need to be leaders,” Barg added. “People look to us for leadership. They don’t always look to us for all the answers, but they look to us to be out front working with other players. The goals, as I see it for the city in this pandemic, is provide essential municipal services to our taxpayers, protect public health, safety and welfare, ensure the safety of our city employees and trying to come to grips with where we need to be on these issues.”
Barg says the situation will be revisited on or shortly after April 1.