WHEREAS, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared there to be a global pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus); and
WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of New Mexico has declared a State of Emergency in order to contain and combat the virus; and
WHEREAS, the New Mexico Health Secretary has issued a public health order suspending mass gatherings in New Mexico effective immediately in order to prevent the spread of the virus; and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has officially declared a state of health emergency with regards to the national COVID-19 epidemic; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has advised that local governments should take immediate action to limit the spread of the virus through social distancing, cancellation of public meetings, limiting public gatherings and events, and implementing additional public health safety and education measures to prevent, contain and, where possible, to mitigate the impact of the virus; and
WHEREAS, cases of the virus in New Mexico have been confirmed and continue to increase and are growing closer to the Town of Taos, now being as close as Santa Fe; and
WHEREAS, national and state health experts now believe that the spread of the virus throughout the country appears to be inevitable at this point; and
WHEREAS, the Town has complied with the state requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act for the posting and notification of an emergency meeting of the Town Council during a declared state of emergency.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF TAOS, BY THIS RESOLUTION THAT WE THE ELECTED OFFICIALS DO HEREBY DECLARE, AS FOLLOWS:
- That, consistent with the declarations of the WHO, the federal government, and the Governor of the State of New Mexico, a Declaration of a Health Emergency is hereby established by the Council for and in the Town of Taos.
- That said declaration shall invoke those financial, planning, police powers and other additional resources available to the Town through a formal declaration of a state of emergency.
- The Council hereby authorizes the Mayor and Town Manager to conduct such emergency measures as may be appropriate to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare of both our residents and visitors.
- The Council authorizes a one-time increase of the signing thresholds in Resolution 19-3 1 Section 10. D. for the Mayor and Town Manager for signing contracts up to $100,000 per contract and for single checks not to exceed $100,000 without the prior approval of Council, but to be presented at the next Council meeting, or on a monthly basis to the Council for ratification.
- The Council authorizes the Mayor Pro Tern and Councilman Fritz Hahn, in that order of succession, to sign as alternate signatories on contracts and checks for the Mayor on behalf of the Town, should he be unavailable, and for the Grants and Revenue Development Director and the Finance Director, in that order of succession, to sign contracts, checks and agreements on behalf of the Town Manager, should he be unavailable.
- No checks may be written in relation to any contract authorized under this resolution without certification by the Finance Director that the appropriate funds exist to meet the obligation nor any contract or agreement entered into without the review and approval of the Town Attorney or, in his absence, a Certified Procurement Officer, or the Finance Director that they meet all relevant legal requirements, including the state sole source or emergency purchasing and procurement guidelines.
- The Council authorizes, under "Resolution 18-27: A Resolution of the Town of Taos Designating the Establishment of and Authority for A Town Emergency Management Team", the activation of the Town Emergency Management Team and delegates all authority to the Town Manager and Team, as outlined in Resolution 18-27 and/or the Town of Taos Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and incorporated Pandemic Action Plan (AP).
- The Council authorizes, consistent with Town Code, the implementation of electronic mechanisms for the conduct of Town business, including staff and consultant education, outreach and planning meetings, and telephonic participation by the Council of such Council Meetings and advisory boards and committees as necessary. Such meetings shall be advertised, as required, recorded and made public on the Town website or by email, upon request, as soon as possible and shall broadcast formal meetings of the Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and historic Commission live streamed by audio and/or video where possible.
- The Council authorizes, consistent with the recommendations of the Emergency Management Team, the Town of Taos Pandemic COOP and AP, the orders of the NM Health Secretary and the recommendations of the WHO and CDC, the following:
- That all Town public events, trainings and meetings and any events, trainings and meetings planned to be held in or on Town property are hereby cancelled until further notice, with the status to be reviewed every 30 days.
- That all out-of-state travel or trainings for Town business are hereby cancelled, with the status of this prohibition to be reviewed every 30 days and any requests for exceptions for public safety or other essential services to be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Town Manager.
- The Town’s Emergency Management Team and HR Department may set such safeguards for the public and employees regarding employees that travel out of the area or that become ill as are reasonable to protect the health and safety of staff and the public, consistent with the most current public health guidelines and advisories.
- That all non-essential programs of the Town that involve significant interaction with residents or groups from outside the state or region that might increase staff or local residents to an increased threat of exposure to the virus shall be cancelled, with this prohibition to be reviewed every 30 days, and with no exceptions.
- That all non-essential facilities of the Town that involve significant interaction with residents or groups from outside the state or region that might increase staff or local residents to an increased threat of exposure to the virus shall be cancelled, with this prohibition to be reviewed every 30 days, with any requests for exceptions for public health, welfare and safety to be reviewed by the Town Manager and the Emergency Management Committee.
- That the Council authorizes that the Mayor and Town Manager are authorized to enter into any JPA’s MOU’s, shared services agreements, contracts as may be necessary to provide the continued operation of services in a time of depleted staff or increased need due to this state of emergency with other governmental, quasi-governmental or private entities and may similarly assist other governmental entities, utilities, health services and entities engaged in the delivery of essential services to the community necessary for the continued public health, welfare and safety of the community.
- That the Council authorizes the Mayor, Town Manager, Grants and Revenue Development Director and Finance Director to prepare for, expend resources in anticipation of, and to apply for such state and federal assistance as may be anticipated or allocated as related to the states of emergency.
- That the Council authorizes the Finance Director to establish an emergency account and to fund said account up to $900,000 for the tracking and finding of such costs as may result from or be needed to address the health emergency, including: over-time, contract labor, computers, smart phones, electronic equipment and telecommunications services, etc. as may be necessary for remote and work at home arrangements, as outlined in the COOP, such preventative and safety equipment and supplies as antiseptic, masks, gloves, etc., and such emergency equipment or provisions as may be needed to assist staff, the public and the indigent in a time of shortage or mandated isolation, including, food, water, medicine, etc.
- That the Council authorizes such other emergency measures as outlined in the Town ’s Pandemic COOP, Action Plan, Resolution 18-27 or by order, direction or advisement of the federal or state government, or such interagency mutual aid and emergency cooperation agreements as the FEMA and DHA approved Taos County All Hazards Plan, to which the Town is a signatory.
- Consistent with the state requirements under the Open Public Meetings Act and all other applicable regulations and statutes for both an emergency meeting and the declaration of a state of emergency by a local government, the Clerk and Attorney shall provide to the required offices notice of this meeting, the actions of the governing body, and make available said notice and actions to the public upon request.
PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED, this 13th day of March, 2020, at an Emergency Meeting of the Town Council by the following vote:
Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Evans Yes
Councilmember Darien Fernandez Yes
Councilmember George "Fritz" Hahn Yes
Councilmember Pascualito Maestas Yes
TOWN OF TAOS
Daniel R. Barrone, Mayor
Francella Garcia, Town Clerk
APPROVED AS TO FORM
Stephen C. Ross, Town Attorney