Coronavirus leads to some change in access for locals

Kirt Manion

As the coronavirus became a major factor in the lives of southwest Iowans last week, interactions with public offices at the city and county level changed, but a degree of normalcy is being sought so that residents can interact with local elected officials and public offices.
At Hamburg City Hall, City Clerk Cheryl Owen said residents are welcome to come in and pay utility bills or ask questions about issues they might be facing. Owen noted that the Hamburg City Hall has a glass divider between patrons and employees which provides some protection.
No special rules or screening is being observed as it pertains to citizens attending council meetings, which are conducted at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of the month. And no special arrangements are being made to limit agendas or shorten meetings.
Those residents who are not feeling well or who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should not attend the council meetings. Residents needing more information about City Council agendas or other matters should call (712) 382-1313.
At Sidney, the rules are a bit different as the City Hall is closed. That doesn’t mean that residents can’t get in touch with city officials. A phone call to City Hall, (712) 374-2223, during the normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. could answer the majority of questions. If more direct help is needed, residents can schedule an appointment and then come to City Hall.
In terms of City Council meetings at Sidney, residents are encouraged to call ahead get cleared by the city officials for attending the Council meetings.
Like the Sidney City Hall, the Fremont County Courthouse is closed to immediate access, but a screening process has been established. All residents seeking access to the courthouse should call (712) 374-2232. Before being granted access, residents will be asked screening questions about how they are feeling.
Upon passing the screening, residents will be allowed entry to conduct business or to attend a County Board of Supervisors meeting. Those meetings take place at 9 a.m. each Wednesday. The County Supervisors’ agenda will not be shortened as a result of coronavirus considerations.