As the battle against the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues, many local municipalities have approved declarations of disaster emergency.
“Signing the Declaration enables the Borough to take advantage of any State or Federal funding opportunities should they become available. It also allows Borough officials to act as necessary to respond to the demands of the emergency: by employing temporary workers, renting necessary equipment, purchasing supplies and materials and by entering into such contract and agreements for the performance of public work as may be required, all without regard to those time-consuming procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law. Of course, all mandatory constitutional requirements will be followed without exception,” Perkasie Borough wrote on its website.
A list of Souderton and Pennridge area towns with declarations of disaster emergency, compiled March 24 from municipal websites, included Perkasie, Sellersville, Dublin, Hilltown, Silverdale, West Rockhill, Souderton, Telford and Lower Salford. East Rockhill was scheduled to vote on its declaration the night of March 24.
Several of the declarations had language similar to the Telford one, which included:
“WHEREAS, the COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) has endangered the health, safety and welfare of a substantial number of persons residing in Telford Borough and threatens to create problems greater in scope than Telford Borough may be able to resolve; and
“WHEREAS, emergency management measures are required to reduce the severity of this disaster and to protect the health, safety and welfare of affected residents … ”
The declarations go on to direct the municipality's emergency management coordinator, as Telford's does, or other designated officials “to coordinate the activities of the emergency response, to take all appropriate action needed to alleviate the effects of this disaster, to aid in the restoration of essential public services, and to take any other emergency response action deemed necessary to respond to this emergency.”
The declaration also authorizes municipal officials “to act as necessary to meet the current demands of this emergency, namely: by the employment of temporary workers, by the rental of equipment, by the purchase of supplies and materials, and by entering into such contracts and agreements for the performance of public work as may be required to meet the emergency, all without regard to those time-consuming procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law, mandatory constitutional requirements excepted.”
While municipal offices are currently closed to the public, municipal officials remain on the job and can be reached by phone or email. Information is available on municipal websites.