New Windsor’s first virtual town council meeting focused on providing updates on changes in procedure amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mayor Neal Roop started the meeting by explaining that they are keeping things as normal as possible, making allowances for changes and closures made due to COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, closures.
“I want to assure everyone that the council and town staff are conducting business as normal as possible. I have been communicating or meeting regularly with council members, town staff, state and county officials and the seven other Carroll County mayors,” said Roop, on Wednesday night, April 1. “During these challenging times, as we deal with the impacts of COVID-19, the town will continue to provide essential services for our residents. During this period of social distancing, the town encourages using the telephone, email communication and use of the dropbox rather than the face to face interaction. The Town Hall will be closed to the public until further notice; anyone needing to meet with town staff will need to make an appointment.”
Roop also informed those in the meeting that the playgrounds in town are closed, this includes the skate park, since they can’t sanitize the equipment on a constant and instantaneous basis nor can they ensure the proper physical distancing. Parks will remain open but those that attend are encouraged to practice proper hygiene and follow the six-foot physical distancing guidelines.
Roop emphasized the concern the town has due to issues with the water and sewer systems from people flushing disinfectant wipes.
“I’m sure most residents are using more disinfectant wipes during these challenging times, however, please do not flush these or any type of wipes down the toilet," said Roop. "This will only result in our sewer pumps becoming clogged and sewer backups, which could result in raw sewage backing up into your home. Please dispose of wipes with your weekly garbage.”
While discussing water and sewer, Roop informed residents that there will be no water turned off for nonpayment or late fees, but that it is the responsibility of the residents to call the town office to make necessary arrangements if they are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to pay their water and sewer bill. The mayor and town council members encourage those that can pay their bill on time to do so.
Roop and Councilman Ed Smith also ensured members of the community to be aware of scams going on, especially with checks coming from the federal government.
“Do not give out any social security numbers to anybody, anytime and make a phone call to someone that you trust, law enforcement, whoever, State’s Attorney’s office if you have what you think is a scam," said Roop. "There’s a lot of people that, unfortunately are taking advantage of people in these type of situations.
“They’ve already had a case where people were calling up and asking for social security numbers to make direct deposits into people’s accounts. Rest assured that will never happen, under no circumstance will anybody from the from the federal government, the state government, the IRS or any banking situation call you to ask you for any information over the phone — bank account numbers, social security numbers or anything to get that money in faster. It will not happen. Any phone calls that come in like that should be immediately reported to local law enforcement and should be ignored, ignored, ignored.”
The repeated overall consensus throughout the meeting from Roop and the council members, were to follow the guidelines in place at this time with staying at home if you can, social distancing, maintaining a six-foot distance and clean.