On Tuesday, the citizens and business owners of the city of Globe will have an opportunity to let the city council know what they think about the possibility of re-opening local businesses.
The Globe City Council will hold a virtual special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on April 21. Mayor Al Gameros described it as a “town hall style meeting” for public discussion.
To watch the council meeting please log in on Tuesday evening to Live Stream at the top of the city’s website
“This is also an opportunity for our residents and our business community to submit their ideas on what they think our community would look like when we can safely open for business,” Gameros said.
Members of the public may submit comments either prior to or during the April 21 meeting via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the council agenda, only complete comments will be considered. Comments must include the commenter’s first and last name. Comments must pertain only to recommendations for the economic recovery plan and reopening of local businesses. Recommendations will be edited for brevity and read accordingly.
Governor Doug Ducey has given Arizona mayors the opportunity to submit ideas and suggestions on lifting “stay home” restrictions in the future.
“I want to find out what the people want and pass that on to the Governor,” Gameros said.
9 confirmed cases in Gila County
Gila County was one of the few in Arizona without a confirmed case of the coronavirus until March 31, when a Payson woman in her 40s was found to be infected though asymptomatic.
After discovery of the positive case, Gila County had to abide by Ducey’s March 11 executive order closing businesses deemed non-essential.
Two days earlier, the Globe City Council voted to close all bars and movie theaters within city limits. While restaurants were ordered to close their on-site dining areas, many were able to continue food service by way of drive-throughs, takeout or delivery. Business as usual continued for bars and restaurants outside Globe city limits, until the county’s March 31 announcement.
With a fifth positive case of COVID-19 in Globe, as well as a fourth case in Payson, Gila County has nine confirmed cases within its boundaries as of the afternoon of Monday, April 20.
Two of the nine afflicted have now recovered, according to the Gila County Division of Health and Emergency Management, which also announced that 466 tests had been completed resulting in a total 457 negatives so far.
Globe Public Works Department employee among coronavirus sufferers
The latest case within Globe city limits–announced Monday afternoon–is a man in his 50s.
The previous case was contracted by a staff member with the City of Globe’s Public Works Department, a man in his 50s and announced on Sunday.
In a statement issued Sunday, April 19, Globe City Manager Paul Jepson described the employee as having “limited public contact.”
“While we evaluate the impact on operations, we are limiting Public Works staff activities to those required to provide core services and emergency needs,” said Jepson, adding that city staff is working with officials investigating the case.
“The City will follow all CDC workplace safety guidelines to maintain employee work safety as we transition back to full operation,” Jepson said Sunday.
A woman in her 50s and two men – one in his 60s and one in his 50s – makeup the three previous cases in Globe.
Jepson said Friday that the positive cases in Globe would not change the way the city operates. He added, “We have put in measures to separate employees, especially employees doing the same job, so we have backup if anyone has to take sick leave.”
However, the first positive cases got everyone’s attention, and Jepson said staff had become more diligent in following CDC recommendations for social distancing. Jepson said, “No one is complaining about the work requirements we have put in place to separate workers and practicing good hygiene.”
Gameros said, “Now that we have positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, we want to encourage everyone to continue to follow the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines – six feet social distancing, wear a mask as needed, limit gatherings of more than 10, and stay home if you are sick.”
County expects increase in testing
The county health department’s COVID-19 team leader, Josh Beck, said, “Based on what we have seen so far, the main transport of COVID-19 into Gila County was by close contacts while in other counties for work, shopping, visiting family and friends, etc.”
According to Beck, Globe’s first positive cases “will not change the way our investigative team handles COVID-19.”
However, having the cases in Globe-Miami would “increase the likelihood of testing in the area, as now patients with less severe symptoms can match the testing matrix based on their contact with known COVID-19 positives,” he said.
Beck said he believes the time will come when testing might be done locally by request rather than meeting a symptom matrix.
“The key is will the testing supplies be here in time this COVID-19 season before we peak, or will they be how we control whatever recurrence we may see in next year’s COVID-19 season?” he said. “I do believe that is the goal for everyone right now–to get the testing up to date.”
Beck said Monday morning that the health department was hopeful they could purchase additional rapid tests for both hospitals in order to increase testing capacity for close contacts.
“So far, the staff I have trained are enough to keep up with the increased daily calls and follow-ups, so the mission remains unchanged” he said.
Impact on city budget
At the Globe City Council’s April 14 meeting, Finance Director Jeannie Sigroi presented the city’s financials, which included projections of a 32.5% loss of revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019-20.
Sigroi said the city may have to resort to use of the city’s contingency fund to make up the projected budget shortfall. The city would need to withdraw about $487,000. The contingency fund has a current balance of about $1.5 million and would be left with a balance of about $1.1 million, Sigroi said.
Sigroi said city sales tax, collected through multiple sources, makes up 56% of the city’s general fund budget. City sales tax revenues account for $5,684, 939 in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2020.
Award winning journalist with over 18 years experience in covering local news and issues affecting rural communities. Married 37 years, my life has taken me from Phoenix to Willcox to Globe. My husband and I are both overjoyed to find ourselves in Globe-Miami, with its rich history and sense of community. This is truly home.