Cities make adjustments in response to COVID-19

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Marquette and McGregor city offices remain closed to the public until further notice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Personnel will continue to be on site, performing regular duties, though. If a McGregor resident has business that requires contact, they are welcome to call (563) 873-3795 or email, and business will still be handled in a proficient manner.

The same goes in Marquette, where residents can call (563) 873-3735 or email City utility bills can be paid by mailing in payments or dropping off payments at the drop box located outside the entrance to city hall.

The city of McGregor, at its March 18 regular council meeting, even issued an emergency declaration in response to the coronavirus spread.

“We’re not used to this, and it’s extremely foreign to us all,” said mayor Lyle Troester at the meeting. “We have citizens who are non-believers—they think it’s a farce. We have citizens who are very scared. And we have everything in between. We have business owners who are very worried and concerned, employees who are now unemployed, retired people with 401Ks who have seen their retirement go to half or less in a matter of a couple weeks.”

He asked council members to lead by example at this time, to stand with the proclamation and offer citizens guidance and hope.

For those in town who are at loose ends, Troester said it might also be a good time to volunteer.

“We have an abundance of parks, an abundance of clean-up to do, and we also have a lot of people who need help,” he shared. “All of this can be done without being in a crowd, without the risk of spreading the virus, if they take precautions.”

Marquette hasn’t announced a similar proclamation, but officials are preparing for what the coming weeks may bring.

“I’ve been doing research on electronic meetings, conference calls and working from home if it comes down to that, so we can be ready to take additional steps if we need to,” said city clerk Bonnie Basemann at a special meeting March 17.

With the closure of Casino Queen Marquette last Tuesday, mayor Steve Weipert said the city could stand to lose $15,000 in revenue. 

Paired with anticipated drops in sales and hotel/motel taxes, “the city is going to take a bit of a hit on this,” he stated. “But I don’t think it’s anything we can’t absorb for right now. We don’t really have a lot of choices.”

In Monona, city hall will remain open, said city administrator Barb Collins at the March 16 regular meeting. 

“We feel we could close the window [at the entrance] and still hear people perfectly well and have no issue,” she added.

However, residents are asked to limit visits and conduct as much business as possible over the phone at (563) 539-2355. Payments can be made at (a fee will apply) or by using the drop box located right outside the city hall main entrance. Staff will not make change for cash payments.

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