As the mayor, I declared a State of Emergency in the City on Monday, March 23.

As the mayor, I declared a State of Emergency in the City on Monday, March 23. The biggest reason for the declaration was to reaffirm the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and to do everything possible to impress on our citizens that we need to work together to keep ourselves safe.

The proclamation has a number of “whereas(s)” that spell out specific requests and directions. In addition to the safety of our residents, the declaration opens the door to “requesting and coordinating appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions, Brown County, the State of Minnesota, and the Federal government, as needed.”

The declaration also establishes an Emergency Management Team which consists of the City Manager, Bob Elston; the City’s Emergency Manager, Shari Hittesdorf and the City’s Health Officer, Dr. John Pelzel.

The City Council met on Wednesday, March 25, (with appropriate social distancing) to extend the Emergency Declaration in Sleepy Eye to the next council meeting on April 14.

The coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on a lot of things. Our hearts go out to those who have been laid off and those who have lost their jobs. Your support of our local businesses, as they struggle to creatively keep their doors open and their workers safe, is so vital. Please patronize them when you can.

The virus is affecting us in ways we never could have imagined. The City has been studying, discussing and planning for the two road projects this summer. Bids have been let and the last thing to do was line up financing. That had been carefully planned. One of the optimistic factors of this project was that bond rates were at record lows. The City planned to borrow money to finance these projects at excellent rates. There was no indication that bond ratings would be anything but positive.

But, the virus entered the picture and the stock market began its record fall. Investors know the common adage about the fall of the stock market — when stocks fall, bonds go up (and vice versa). Well, bond prices have risen significantly over the past couple weeks, so what looked like a great time to finance these projects left town when the threat of the virus entered.

Fortunately, the City has some time and has money to cover the early portion of the project. By pushing the financing back as long as possible, it is hoped that the stock market will return to somewhere near where it was before the pandemic. At that time the projects will be financed. Be assured that this financing is on the top of the City Manager’s priority list and the best possible decision for the City will be made.

For the time being….

•Stay safe and stay home.

•Keep social distances.

•Wash your hands. Keep your hands away from your face.

•If you’re sick, stay home. Call your health care provider before going to see them.

•We’re all in this together. Practice these things for yourself and the good of others.

•Patronize our local businesses.