COVID-19

CITY OF MUSKEGON HEIGHTS ELECTRONIC CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS

Updated 04/20/2020

Electronically on the City of Muskegon Heights Government Facebook Page

Reason for Electronic Meeting

In accordance with the state and national directives, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, protect the public health, and provide essential protections to vulnerable persons, it is crucial that all persons take steps to limit in-person contact. Paramount among these mitigation measures are the practices of social distancing and limiting the number of people interacting at public gatherings.  Titled, “Temporary authorization of remote participation in public meetings and hearings and temporary relief from monthly meeting requirements for school boards”, Executive Order 2020-15, was signed On March 18, 2020 by Governor Whitmer.  However, the City of Muskegon Heights must continue to conduct public business during this emergency.  This includes actions to respond to COVID-19, yet the general public must still be able to exercise their right to participate in government decision making without unduly inhibiting or compromising public health, safety, and welfare. To do so while yet complying with CDC recommendations, City Council meeting will solely be held remotely and electronically, until further notice.

Public Participation Instructions 

Members of the public may view the meeting live on the City of Muskegon Heights Government Facebook page at the link below. Members of the public may submit comments to be read aloud by the City Clerk during public comment by sending an email (including your full name and address) in advance of the meeting to SGibbs@CityofMuskegonHeights.org or during the public comment portion of the meeting by submitting your full name, address, and comment on the Facebook live stream.  If you are participating by phone and have note emailed your comments in advance, there will be an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting when the meeting organizer will solicit from the callers on the phone to see if anyone would like to comment.  At that time, you will have an opportunity to provide your name and address, and at the appropriate time for public comment you will be called upon by name and address to provide your comments.  Comments should be limited to a minute and a half of reading material.

The meeting can be accessed, live for viewing only, at the website address: 

https://www.facebook.com/MuskegonHeightsCity/

The meeting can be joined by Join Zoom Meeting:

One tap mobile:

Send an email to SGibbs@CityofMuskegonHeights.org to receive an invite link via your email.

Public Input and Questions on Business Before the Council 

Members of the public may contact the City Council to provide input or ask questions on any business that will come before the City Council by e-mail at SGibbs@CityofMuskegonHeights.org 

Persons with Disabilities Participation Instructions:

The City of Muskegon Heights will work to provide necessary reasonable auxiliary aids and services, such as signers for the hearing impaired and audio tapes of printed materials being considered at the meeting, to individuals with disabilities who want to electronically attend the meeting with eight (8) hours’ notice to the City of Muskegon Heights.  Individuals with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids or services should contact the City of Muskegon Heights by e-mailing or calling the following:

Sharon Gibbs,

City Clerk

E-mail: SGibbs@CityofMuskegonHeights.org 

(231) 733-8999

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NOTICE TO RESIDENCES, RENTAL PROPERTIES, HOUSING COMPLEXES, AND OPEN BUSINESSES

Under the State of Emergency Declaration, the appropriate City staff have been empowered to enforce
compliance of the “cleanup and sanitation of all common areas.”

To expedite the ability of law enforcement, code enforcement, and the Department of Public Works to monitor areas needing policing, sanitizing, cleanup, and attention for the general welfare and good health of our citizens. All establishments in the City of Muskegon Heights – residences, rental properties, housing complexes, and open businesses must act immediately to clean-up the areas under their responsibility.

As such, beginning April 6, 2020, civil citations and fines will be issued for the following:

  • Bulk Items left on the curb. To assist our residents and businesses in addressing this issue, we will allow items to be dropped off FOR FREE at DPW from 10am to 2:30pm on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Thereafter, during this emergency, all bulk items must be stickered and dropped off at DPW on Wednesdays during the same hours. Bulk Stickers can be purchased via the phone (231-733-8999 x0) by credit card or via City Hall Drop-Box using check or money order. Bulk Stickers will be sent by mail the next day to the addresses provided.
  • Trash and debris seen or found on the property, in the right-of-way adjacent to the property, or also in the common areas in the case of rental or housing complexes. Citations and fines will be issued successively until the property is consistently clear of trash or debris, and until it presents a clean and orderly appearance. All steps should be taken by the property owner, tenant, or property manager to sanitize the property or to ensure the property is properly sanitized.

Failure to comply can result in a fine and/or civil infraction citation, per incident, up to $500.
This notice empowers the City Office of Inspections, the Fire Department, and the Police Department to enforce the provisions herein described.

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NOTICE TO TAKEOUT AND CONVENIENCE STORE BUSINESSES

Under the State of Emergency Declaration, the appropriate City staff have been empowered to enforce
compliance of the 6’ Social Distancing Practice.

Those establishments deemed to be essential may continue to operate, however they must take specific precautions to protect the health and welfare of their employees and the public. Thus, steps must be taken to space customers in the ordering queues to a minimum of 6 feet apart.

As an alternative, you can elect to conduct your business as drive-up or curbside, only.

  • Many businesses have elected to forbid customers from entering the establishment by taking all orders via phone, internet or curbside order taker, and then delivering the items directly to the vehicle by setting the items in the back seat of the vehicle so as to minimize contact between staff and customer.
  • Staff interacting with customers should have personal protective equipment and any tools (e.g. pens, pencils, and signature pads) used for the transaction should be sterilized (e.g. dropped in a bucket and then wiped down/sanitized by separate employee or using different gloves) between transactions.
  • If payment cannot be accomplished by phone or internet, then no contact exchange should be attempted via drop and pickup from passenger side or placement under windshield wiper.
  • To the extent possible all passengers should remain in the vehicle when the staff member is providing exchanges.

If, as a business, you fail to achieve sufficient separation of customers as the examples above described, then you will be forced to suspend service until the process is corrected.
If the process is restarted and still fails to achieve the required level of safety for transactions and interactions, then in the interest of public health your business will be shut down until further notice.
This notice empowers the City Office of Inspections, the Fire Department, and the Police Department to enforce the provisions herein described.

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Mayor Address COVID 19

In conjunction with this morning’s State of Emergency post here is a message from Mayor Walter Watt recorded yesterday evening.

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City Manager’s Declaration of State of Emergency

CITY OF MUSKEGON HEIGHTS

City Manager’s Declaration of State of Emergency

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

At 9:00 pm

On March 10, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-04, declaring  a state of emergency across the state of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, 1976 PA 390, as amended, MCL 30.401-.421, and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, 1945 PA 302, as amended, MCL 10.31-.33 in response to the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.  

On March 13, 2020, in response to and in accordance with executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer, the City issued Emergency Notice 1, advising the public of the closing of City Hall and the Library to public access during normal operating hours Monday through Thursday and closing the entire facility for staff, Consumers Electric, and the public on Fridays.  City employee attendance to out of county trainings was suspended, as well as rental inspections, staff entry into private homes, and water shut offs.  Finally, this notice advised the public of immediate modifications to City Council Meetings to increase safety and welfare, while subsequent modifications to allow remote participation were pending.  During this time the City continued and continues to conduct business with the public through telephonic and videoconferencing sources.  Customer transactions have continued and are being conducted via the city’s drop box (check or money orders) and by telephone with the use of credit card payments.  

On March 23, 2020, at 10:39 am. Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-21.  This order, effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 20202, directed residents to stay at home to the maximum extent feasible.  The order identified multiple areas of service that would continue as part of essential services.  Although sanitation service was an essential service slated to continue, the status of services associated with bulk item pickup were not clearly defined. 

On March 23, 2020, in response to, and in accordance with, executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer, the City issued Emergency Notice 2 advising the public of the change in the way City Council Meetings will be conducted during the state of emergency. The notice indicated, in the foreseeable future, Council Meetings will be conducted solely by electronical means to further minimize the chance for personal contact and inhibit the opportunity for the spread of COVID-19. 

On March 26, 2020,realizing the imminent impact of forced joblessness on families in the community as the end of the month approaches, and acknowledging the disproportionate stress the virus has on the most vulnerable residents, the Mayor directed City staff to (1) begin plans to address food security concerns in Muskegon Heights and to (2) put into place a system to conduct remote wellness inquiries on senior citizens in Muskegon Heights.  This effort is moving forward in collaboration with the school meal deliveries provided by Muskegon Heights Academy, volunteer space and services provided by local churches, and representation from Lake Newago County NAACP, as well as the HERCO 1191 Labor of Detroit.  

To meet an unprecedented challenge, this initiative embraces is a unique and unprecedented collaboration between City Government, the Faith Community, the School District, willing Local Businesses, the Health and Wellness sector, and our Labor friends. The City is working to support the valiant efforts already underway by the School District and the Faith Community and seeks to provide leadership in bringing the other strategic partnerships to the table to raise up the New Heights.  Through coordinated engagement and doorstep deliveries, together we can now begin to provide the best possible service to the most vulnerable in our community.  We start by impacting critical food needs and essential supplies (toiletries – soap, TP, etc).  

Seniors, senior caregivers, and those requesting assistance for door to door food and supplies delivery will be able to call the City COVID-19 Hotline (231) 733-8999 X5 to provide name, phone number, and address to receive food delivery and wellness phone call checks.  We will continue to reach out to local grocers (Meijers, Target, and Walmart) to offer opportunities for prepaid orders to also be delivered to distribution centers and/or resident doorsteps. The distribution system is being designed to reduce single points of failure and provide redundancy in services.

On March 27, 2020, Republic Services, the City’s Sanitation service provider, notified the City that effective immediately Bulk Item Pickup is suspended due to safety and wellness concerns for Republic Services employees.  The City is working closely with Republic Services to identify alternative solutions for addressing Bulk Item pickup in our community.

The City staff anticipated that our community would eventually be impacted directly by COVID-19 cases, though we all prayed that our residents would be spared.  As such, because of the nature of the powers enacted under emergency declaration, it was felt that the most sever measures to protect our community had to be reserved for activation when imminent danger was present in the community as evidenced by any confirmed positives within the city limits of Muskegon Heights.  Unfortunately, on March 29, I received official notification of 2 confirmed presumed-positive cases.  This fact has led me to conclude “that a large-scale disaster or emergency situation in the city or state is imminent.”  

Thus, after careful consideration and concern, and as a next step in the City’s response to, and in alignment with, Governor Whitmer’s directives, under: 

Section 3.04 Powers and Duties of the City Manager.The city manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the City, responsible to the city council for the administration of all City affairs placed in the manager’s charge by or under this charter.

Under City Ordinance Sec. 34-1 that defines “Disaster” to include “epidemic” and defines “State of Emergency” as a declaration made by City Manager,  

City Ordinance Sec. 34-6(b) which states the circumstances under which the City Manager may declare “a state of emergency exists” are, (1) “Whenever, on the basis of information received from authoritative sources, he [she] feels that a large-scale disaster or emergency situation in the city or state is imminent. (2) “During any period of disaster in the city or state and thereafter as long as he [she] shall deem it necessary.”

And in response to the tragic news of confirmed positive (COVID-19) in Muskegon Heights, I have decided to declare a State of Emergency for the City of Muskegon Heights.  In these uncertain times the City must be proactive in implementing all reasonable measures that can work to ensure the community is protected to the greatest extent possible and thus minimize any additional spread of COVID-19.  As we strive to establish a more consistent and reliable channel of information with the state and county health and safety authorities, under City Ordinance Sec. 34-6(c) the City requests access to select any and all additional resources as may be appropriate and available through the state and regional disaster/emergency declaration.  

Therefore,effective April 2, 2020 at 8 pm, the following measures will be enacted for the next 14 days (unless extended by subsequent Council Resolution), under this declaration of State of Emergency:

  1. To direct residents to remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible, the City will aggressively pursue
  • strict enforcement of the City’s curfew codes (Article VIII City Ordinance Sec. 58-251 (et seq.)) and the respective requirements to eliminate unnecessary night-time activities or gathering of adults and children outside of the place of residence and of people not part of a single household, prohibiting in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life, except as required for essential travel or critical infrastructure works as described by the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • community engagement to encourage enhanced compliance with the 6’ social distancing practice, the increased use of hand washing and sanitization practices, the cleanup and sanitation of all common areas, and the use of all available personal protective equipment. 
  1. The placement of personal Bulk Items on the curb for pickup is suspended.  Do not place bulk items on the curb for pickup.  Remove any Bulk Items improperly placed on the curb.  Any bulk items that need to be disposed of must be coordinated and arranged in advance with the Department of Public Works. 
  2. The closure of public parks and city owned spaces to leisure activities that involve team sports.
  3. The closure of Muskegon Heights City Hall to public access, by this notice, is extended to April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm.  This may be subject to further extension.

Within 14 days, a resolution will be presented to City Council for consideration – to confirm, expand or reduce the measures listed above, and/or extend the duration of the City State of Emergency.

NOTE: 

Pursuant to City Ordinance Sec. 34-14, “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person willfully to obstruct, hinder or delay any emergency services forces in the enforcement or accomplishment of any rule or regulation issued pursuant to this chapter, or to do any act forbidden by any rule or regulation issued pursuant to the authority contained in this chapter.”  A willful violation of any of the directives associated with this order will result in a civil infraction of up to $500

And as stated in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-21 (COVID-19), “Consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3), a willful violation of this order [20-21 (COVID-19)] is a misdemeanor.” 

As we continue to “Set Our Sights on the New Heights”, even in isolation we must stay strong, remain vigilant, and seek to emerge from these challenging times stronger, better focused, and with greater resolve to reach our goal of a new, vibrant, and thriving community.

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Vital Funding for State’s Small Businesses Gains Michigan Strategic Fund Support

Economic assistance for small businesses around Michigan that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus gained approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“We understand small businesses across our state are facing unprecedented challenges as we take every step possible to mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Through decisive actions like those taken today by the MSF Board to authorize relief for small businesses throughout Michigan, we are leveraging every resource available to support our businesses, communities and entrepreneurs around the state impacted by this outbreak.”

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program approved today authorizes the MEDC provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses. The funding is divided between $10 million in small business grants and $10 million in small business loans to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce.

The $10 million in grant funding will be provided to local or nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state to provide grants up to $10,000 each to support certain small businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

In order to qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • The company is in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-9, or any subsequent Executive Order of similar intent (“EO”), or demonstrates it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as meeting additional criteria;
  • The company has 50 employees or fewer;
  • The company needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and
  • The company is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the program authorizes the MEDC to provide up to $10 million for small business loans to one or more Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFI”) or a licensed SBA not-for-profit institutions (“Eligible SBA Non-Profit”), or directly from the MSF to eligible borrowers to be used to provide low-interest loans with flexible repayment terms to support certain small businesses statewide that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Loans to eligible borrowers must be $50,000 or more and are capped at $200,000. 

In order to qualify for loan support, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • The company is in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-9 (“EO”), or demonstrates it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, or is a company that provides goods and services to companies to the aforementioned;
  • The company has fewer than 100 employees;
  • The company needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business;
  • The company can demonstrate that it is unable to access credit through alternative sources;
  • The company can demonstrate an income loss of as a result of Executive Order 2020-9.

The MEDC anticipates that at least 1,100 businesses across the state will benefit from this program.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be a top priority for the MEDC, with funds being available no later than April 1, 2020. Loan and grant proceeds under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business. Through this program, in combination with other programs and services, the state will ensure economic support is available to Michigan’s small businesses to overcome anticipated loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 virus through both grant and loan opportunities.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, many small businesses are faced with significant economic impacts, including challenges with cash flow and resources to support their workforce,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “The Michigan Small Business Relief program will provide immediate assistance to the small businesses around the state who are facing revenue loss as a result of tough, but necessary steps that have been taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program is the latest effort of MEDC to support Michigan businesses as they are impacted by COVID-19. MEDC has just launched a new free, statewide online procurement platform for buyers and suppliers of critical health and human services across a broad range of categories to minimize the impact of the virus in the state. The platform will allow health and human service providers in need of critical supplies to connect with suppliers of vital goods and services.

It also builds Governor Whitmer’s application for a U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration to ensure federal economic support is available to Michigan businesses. Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation making $1 billion available to the SBA to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans offer up to $2 million in assistance to support businesses with any temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing due to the outbreak, and will have a significant regional impact for communities across the state as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

For more resources for small businesses in Michigan impacted by COVID-19 visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

The Michigan Strategic Fund also took the following actions today:                               

Red Cedar Development Project – The City of Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority requested approval of a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan including $32,453,324 in school tax capture to support a development project on the former Red Cedar Golf Course site in the city of Lansing. As presented by the developers, the plan seeks to build a variety of pads to sell to related entities leaving some ambiguity as to the future development to occur on the site.

The MSF board today voted to deny the request because the development as proposed lacked details necessary to verify the financial need or the regional benefits, and the project generally does not comport with the state’s economic development priorities. The board’s action does not impact the local brownfield authority’s ability to move forward with their partial financing of the project.

Lofts on Alabama LLC amendment – Originally approved in June 2015, the Lofts on Alabama project included the demolition of an existing structure and rehabilitation of an existing building into market-rate apartments and a parking ramp in Grand Rapids. The project today received MSF approval to refinance from a loan participation agreement to a Fannie Mae senior loan and a new direct loan on the balance owed to the MSF. The new financing structure provides more advantageous terms, resulting in more monthly income to cover debt service payments.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)                                         

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

The City of Muskegon Heights is proactively monitoring public health information for any potential implications of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) for our community. City Hall will be closed to visitors beginning Monday, March 16th through April 30, 2020 due to community mitigation strategies from MDHHS and to comply with Michigan Executive Order 2020-21.

For the latest information about the virus, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website.

The State of Michigan also has a website about the virus detailing the impact on our great state.

Wondering what the federal government is doing about the Virus?

In the meantime, here are some questions and answers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services(MDHHS):

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is caused by a new respiratory virus. In December 2019, the virus began circulating in humans. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Health experts are still learning about how this new coronavirus spreads. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) of an ill person, and
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
What about packages from China?

In general, coronaviruses are unable to survive on surfaces. There is likely a very low risk of spread from products or packages shipping over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission associated with imported goods.

How can I protect myself?

If you are traveling overseas follow the CDC’s guidance at CDC.gov/Travel.
There are steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold that will also help prevent COVID-19, including:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick and contact your healthcare provider.

Right now, there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public in the United States.It is important to remember that stigma and discrimination occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality. COVID-19 does not target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

No. Facemasks are not recommended for healthy people. Facemasks should be used by:

  • Healthcare workers
  • People taking care of someone with COVID-19

If you are sick with respiratory illness and visit a healthcare provider, you may be asked to wear a facemask during your visit.

Are my pets safe?

To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands with soap after being around animals.

Where is or are there quarantine facilities?

At this time, we are not releasing the locations of quarantine facilities due to individual privacy.

How can I get tested for COVID-19?

Individuals that are concerned about their health and experiencing respiratory illness or other serious or concerning symptoms, should contact their healthcare provider. Healthcare providers request testing based on a patient’s signs, symptoms, travel history and risk.

I’m planning or attending an event, should I cancel?

MDHHS is recommending cancellation, postponement, or modifications to conferences and events with 100 or more attendees. Smaller events should also consider cancellation and other social distancing strategies. High-risk communities should cancel gatherings of more than 10 people.

What actions should businesses take to prepare?

Employers should consider strategies to prevent spread of illness in the workplace including:

  • Encouraging sick employees to stay home and ensuring that policies are consistent with public health guidance.
  • Separating employees with acute respiratory illness.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Provide information to employees before traveling.

Employers should follow the CDC’s guidance for creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan.

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