BY STACIE LETT CAIN
Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh started and ended Monday’s city council meeting by sharing thoughts and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic that is gripping communities around the world.
Kutteh opened the meeting with a moment of silence for those around the world who have been afflicted by the novel coronavirus. There have been nearly 180,000 cases of COVID-19, including at least 7,074 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.
At the meeting’s conclusion, the mayor advised the handful of people in attendance that he had issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency prior to the meeting after receiving information that there had been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Iredell County.
“This is not saying that we have a case here in Statesville, but we do have one confirmed in Iredell County,” Kutteh explained. “Making this declaration gives our city manager and our first responders the power to do more to work to protect our citizens from this pandemic. It also allows us the opportunity to apply for funding to assist us if we should need it in the future.”
Earlier in the meeting the mayor expressed his gratitude to the city staff for their hard work over the last days as they prepared the city’s response to the pandemic.
“We have taken measures that may look extreme, but we believe they are necessary to protect the citizens of Statesville as much as possible,” he said. “We ask for patience and cooperation as we face whatever may lay ahead of us in the coming weeks and months.”
Attendance at the meeting was limited to 50 people as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday morning, there were 33 confirmed cases in North Carolina and 1,694 in the U.S.
The council attended to normal business during the meeting, including holding public hearings on annexation and rezoning. One request was for the approval of a site plan for a BoJangles’ planned for the out parcel in front of Boxcar Grille off Taylorsville Highway.
Councilmembers also approved a request for the Statesville Police Department to purchase Glock firearms for all members of the Patrol Division.
“We currently have officers carrying many different weapons, which makes it impossible to assist one another with ammunition should the need arise in an emergent situation,” Police Chief David Addison said. “It is not only inefficient, it could also be deadly. We want to bring uniformity to the department to further protect our officers.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the request. The guns will cost $20,625 with the entire purchase funded by asset forfeiture money.
A PROCLAMATION FOR THE
DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) a global pandemic on March 11, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of North Carolina declared a State of Emergency on March 10, 2020 to coordinate the State’s response and protective actions to address the COVID-19 public health emergency and to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of residents and visitors; and
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the number of cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina continues to rise; and
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County; and
WHEREAS, the City of Statesville citizens travel to and from those counties and the residents of those counties travel to and from Statesville regularly, increasing the risks for exposure of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been reported in Iredell County; and
WHEREAS, as a result of the above-described emergency, I have determined that there is an imminent threat of, or existing conditions have caused or will cause, widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property, and public safety authorities will be unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property; and
WHEREAS, declaring a State of Emergency and imposing the restrictions and prohibitions ordered herein is necessary to maintain order and protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to secure property.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Mayor of the City of Statesville under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes and Chapter 14, Article III of the City of Statesville Code of Ordinances:
Section 1. A State of Emergency is hereby declared within the jurisdiction of City of Statesville.
Section 2. I hereby authorize the City Manager to take appropriate protective action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including implementing restrictions, modifications, or alterations to any City operations, services, or facilities, and to take other protective measures as he deems appropriate, and consistent with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and in accordance with executive orders issued by the President of the United States and the Governor of North Carolina.
Section 3. I hereby order all City law enforcement officers and employees and all other emergency management personnel subject to our control to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Declaration, all applicable local ordinances, state and federal laws, and the City of Statesville Emergency Operations Plan.
Section 4. I hereby order this declaration: (a) to be distributed to the news media and other organizations calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; (b) to be filed with the City Clerk to the City Council of the City of Statesville and (c) to be distributed to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this declaration.
Section 5. This Proclamation shall take effect on March 16, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. and shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded.
DECLARED this the March 16,2020 at 7:00 P.M.
Constantine H. Kutteh, Mayor
Brenda Fugett, City Clerk