(BLAINE) -The COVID-19 threat is abruptly changing the way residents do business with cities. In Blaine, city hall will be locked, but officials are coming up with new ways to keep the city running. Services will continue, it just won’t be face-to-face with residents.
Monday’s Blaine City Council meeting may be the last time they gather in the same room for awhile. The meeting was moved to a larger space to allow for social distancing. In the future, some sort of electronic meeting that allows for public input is likely.
Details are still to come on how that would work. But as Blaine City Hall shuts its doors, staff will still report to all city facilities. Some will work from home. The big change is how the public will get things done.
“We’ll continue to operate as a city, it will just be in a different way,” said Hayle. “They won’t come here to fill out applications. They will do that over e-mail.”
The police department will continue to function, with extra caution. But if you simply need to file a report, you are asked to call Anoka County Dispatch at 763-427-1212.
Some other functions will have to wait until the emergency is over. Park and Recreation programs are closed through April 15th. There will be no car seat checks, bike helmet fittings, or fingerprinting services. Even some building inspections will be interrupted.
“All interior inspections of homes are suspended through the end of the month,” Hayle said. “Exterior inspections are going on as scheduled so roofs, decks, fences, those kinds of inspections will continue.”
While senior programs are discontinued until mid-April, staff at the Mary Ann Young Center is doing daily wellness checks with senior clients over the phone.
City officials understand this will be new ground for everyone involved.
“We’re asking for peoples’ patience as we work through this absolutely unchartered territory.” Hayle adds that residents should call with any questions about how to get something done.
You can keep up with the latest changes on a special page on Blaine’s city website: www.blainemn.gov/covid19.