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Hillsboro declares COVID-19 emergency

Staff writer

Hillsboro city council members declared a state of emergency during their first online meeting Tuesday.

The first 10 minutes of the meeting were spent ironing out minor technical issues.

“This council meeting is unusual — it’s something we’ve never done before but it’s because of the COVID virus,” mayor Lou Thurston said.

Council members passed an emergency declaration giving Thurston and city administrator Larry Paine authority to make decisions on behalf of the city without council members approving them first during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paine told council members that although there isn’t an overwhelming need to declare an emergency, declaring one will help if the city needs to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Administration grant to defray extra expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having this additional power is something that neither Larry nor I take lightly,” Thurston said.

“On my part, I think any action that I might do would not be without consultation with the mayor first,” Paine said.

Hillsboro COVID-19 changes

Most city staff are working from home, but someone is in the office each weekday.

Wednesday evening fire department training sessions have been canceled.

The city electric department crew is staying home unless an outage occurs.

Water department employees are on a schedule that keeps them away from each other.

Utility bills will be estimated for the next billing cycle.

The municipal golf course, parks, playgrounds, and picnic shelters are closed.

All recreation department activities have been canceled.

Solar energy panels

Hillsboro residents will be able to install solar energy panels after council members approved solar parallel generation interconnection standards and rate rider.

“The solar panel has to be owned by the customer,” Paine said. “The power is not to be sold.”

Before installing solar panels, the customer will need to apply, get a building permit, and have the solar panels inspected.

“The interconnection agreement is something that would be like a contract between the customer and the city,” Paine said.

Last modified April 9, 2020

 

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