On Monday, March 23, the City of Sleepy Eye locked the doors of City Hall, directing residents to call 794-3731 for service.

On Monday, March 23, the City of Sleepy Eye locked the doors of City Hall, directing residents to call 794-3731 for service.

Also on Monday, Mayor Wayne Pelzel made a declaration of emergency for the City of Sleepy Eye. He also called an emergency City Council meeting for Wednesday, March 25 at noon at the Council Chambers (after this issue of the Herald-Dispatch has gone to press).

City Manager Bob Elston said the emergency meeting would be televised, but not open to the public due to attendance being limited to less than 10 people, with those in attendance spread throughout the room. The only agenda item was to extend the Mayor’s declaration.

Some of the issues covered in the City’s emergency declaration include:

•Establishment of an Emergency Management Team, consisting of the City Manager, Emergency Manager and City Health Officer.

•Directs the Emergency Management Team and other appropriate City staff to request and coordinate appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions, Brown County, the State of Minnesota, and the Federal government, as needed.

•States that meetings of the City Council, and other commissions of the City shall be conducted by telephone or other electronic means.

While City Hall is closed, Elston said they are working with a very limited staff, inside and outside.

“Being closed is about limiting exposure,” said Elston. “We first installed plexiglass in the window on DMV side of the counter. This helped to protect our office staff from the public, but it didn’t protect the public from the public. We have a fairly small customer area, so folks who were waiting to be served were bunching up in the lobby area next to each other.”

Elston said the only way to limit that exposure was to close City Hall to the public. “Inside the office we have only one or two people in the main office area during each day,” he said. “They rotate the days they work. We still have bills to pay, payroll to get out and reports to do. We need some staff here, but we don’t want more than two at a time, and they keep a safe distance from each other.”

As for DMV service, Elston said they will take selling tabs one day at a time.

“Right now, unless your tabs expired in February or before, buying tabs is not an emergency,” said Elston. “Soon those expiring in March will have to be renewed and there are several options.”

Option 1: Passenger class registrations (tabs) can be renewed online at drive.mn.gov

Option 2: All registration renewals can be mailed into the State.

Option 3: If the customer knows ALL of the information they need to renew their tabs, including their auto insurance policy number, they could drop that and a check off in our dropbox on the west side of the building and we could mail them their tabs.

Elston said the City will continue to explore other options as necessary.

Asked if any city departments had something they want the public to know, Elston answered, “Yes, stay home! Don’t be selfish, don’t be arrogant, don’t be foolish. People’s lives and livelihoods are at risk here. Please don’t disrespect those who have closed their business in sacrifice for the public good by recklessly disregarding repeated pleas to stay home.”