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HOLTS SUMMIT — Holts Summit is the first Callaway County municipality to declare a state of emergency over COVID-19.
The declaration, signed by Mayor Landon Oxley, is dated Tuesday but was publicly released Thursday. City aldermen discussed plans to grant the mayor emergency powers during Tuesday's board meeting.
"The proclamation of a state of emergency provides the City of Holts Summit the ability to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease, control the risk and promote the health and safety of Holts Summit residents," the declaration reads. "The city wishes to employ all means available under the law to protect public life, health, safety and property to limit the development, contraction and spread of COVID-19 creating this emergency."
The declaration cites the World Health Organization's decision to label COVID-19 a global pandemic and Gov. Mike Parson's decision to declare a state of emergency for Missouri as contributing factors, among others.
Holts Summit's city code allows city government to do certain things in a state of emergency, beyond its usual powers. These include, as listed by the declaration:
The power to use employees of the city to assist in the preservation of life, limb and property.
To close streets and sidewalks to the use of the public.
To impose emergency curfew regulations.
To close business establishments.
To close any city-owned buildings and other facilities to the general public.
To reassign all administrative and executive employees doing non-administrative work as non-administrative or non-exempt employees during the declared disaster.
To expend funds, make contracts, obtain and distribute supplies and equipment for emergency preparedness; provide for the health and safety of persons and property; and direct and coordinate the development of disaster plans and programs.
To appoint, provide or remove rescue teams, auxiliary fire and police personnel, etc.
With the approval of the state governor, to enter into mutual-aid agreements with other public and private agencies for reciprocal emergency aid.
To accept services, materials, equipment, supplies or funds granted or loaned by the federal government for disaster planning and operation purposes.
City officials clarified via Facebook that Oxley is not acting on the vast majority of these powers at this time. So far, Holts Summit has closed the City Hall lobby, park, baseball and softball fields, and civic center. The city has also postponed its annual Easter egg hunt and asked citizens not to congregate in groups of 50 or more.
The declaration also calls upon the county, state and federal authorities to provide assistance.