Hubbard County Board Chair Charlene Christenson issued a "Declaration of Local Emergency," effective Monday, March 23, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news releases states that, by law, county board chairs can declare a local emergency for up to three days, then a majority of the full county board must agree to extend such local emergency or allow it to expire.

Extending the emergency declaration will be considered at a special board meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the Hubbard County Government Center, Room 324.

Hubbard County Coordinator Eric Nerness said, "While the words 'emergency declaration' sound dramatic, it is really a statutory step we can take to (1) adjust attendance at meetings to avoid large gatherings, which promotes the health and well-being of residents and employees; and (2) temporarily suspend purchasing requirements, which permits us more flexibility to ensure continuity of operations."

The new release explains, "A declaration of a local emergency invokes necessary provisions of the county’s emergency response and recovery plan to authorize aid and assistance under those plans. This allows the county to act quickly without the time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by law pertaining to the performance of public work, entering into contracts, incurring of obligations, employment of temporary workers, rental of equipment, purchase of supplies and materials, and the appropriation and expenditure of public funds to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Hubbard County.

"The declaration also provides authority for the county board to limit the size of public gatherings at county board meetings in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in such circumstances. This same limitation is also being extended to the county’s Planning Commission/Board of Adjustment (PC/BOA) as well as the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). It also allows for meetings of these two bodies to happen via telephone conferencing or other electronic means, should that become necessary."

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