By PJ Ferguson

Whitehall Municipal Center is currently closed until further notice.

The village of Whitehall is limiting its Department of Public Works from eight to four employees until April 2 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The workers will conduct pump station, water and sewage checks daily before heading home, according to Deputy Mayor Pat Norton.

All employees will still receive their paychecks but must be readily on-call in the event of an emergency.

In addition, the doors to the DPW garage, the water and waste-water plants, will all be locked, with no vendors or visitors allowed for the next two weeks.

“The town can shut down,” said trustee Tim Watson, “they don’t have the responsibility of a water and sewer plant.”

In the event of infrastructure issues, village officials are asking people to be honest if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, so precautions can be taken to protect their employees.

The village office is closed to the public, but village clerk Stephanie Lachapelle will be in the office and available by phone at 518-499-0871 for any inquiries.

Bills and other notes can be left in the drop box located outside the front door of the village office and if a receipt is needed, it will be mailed.

The Whitehall Library is also closed for the foreseeable future.

The police station is also making some adjustments during this crisis, suspending non-essential services such as fingerprinting and background checks and limiting the number of people in the office by meeting visitors outside of the foyer.

Additionally, the police are making extra efforts to sanitize the office.

“Besides that it is business as usual,” said Richard Lachapelle.

The village did not declare a state of emergency, noting that “we’re in one anyway” because New York State and Washington County both made the declaration.

With the state suspending the open meetings law, no one except board members, department heads and a reporter from the village’s official newspaper will be permitted to attend meetings.

The village board will accept public comment in the form of a letter, email or phone call to the village clerk as long as it is received prior the meeting.

The next scheduled meeting is the annual organization meeting on Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m.

The village intends on holding the meeting and as it stands right now, a public hearing regarding the draft of the comprehensive plan is also on the agenda. 

 

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