City Response

Since March 9, 2020, the city has been organizing weekly meetings with our partners at the School District, Hospital District, and Fire District. The city is coordinating with other emergency response teams and agencies; and communicate frequently with our staff. We are committed to provide public services to our community while keeping our employees and their families’ health, safety, and well-being a priority. Below is a list of current actions taken and steps in place. 

Mayor Geoffrey Thomas 

  • May 6, 2020 Mayors letter to Governor Jay Inslee
  • April 24, 2020 op-ed piece
  • April 24, 2020 Mayors letter to Governor Jay Inslee
  • Distributed 2020 budget adjustment spreadsheet to department directors to identify strategic adjustments needed for the 2020 budget due to COVID-19. 
  • Issued six Emergency Executive Orders.
  • Working with staff to respond/implement Governor’s direction from March 30 press conference.
  • Working with staff on Facebook Public Service Announcement videos.
  • Facebook  Address on Sunday, March 29, 2020 – Stay Home/Stay Health & Thanking People.
  • Inquiring with Councilmembers about Letter to Governor RE: OPMA and Council Meetings.
  • Facebook video encouraging people to shop in Monroe with Chamber.
  • Closed parks, parking lots, restrooms, sports courts, dog park, and skate park (open spaces/trails still open).
  • Sent email to Senator Cantwell’s office requesting funding for local governments provide full salaries to employees without using sick level or city paid emergency leave connected with COVID-19.
  • Authorized suspension of School Zone Speed Limits from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm while schools are closed.
  • Suspended collection of Credit Card Telephone Payment fee.
  • Issued Proclamation of Emergency March 3, 2020.

City Operations: 

  • March 3, 2020, Mayor Thomas issues a Proclamation of Emergency (PDF)
  • Passport and fingerprinting services are suspended through May 4, 2020. 
  • City offices and the police department are closed to the public beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Most services will be available by phone or email.
  • City offices are closed.  All non-essential employees are working from home effective Thursday, March 26 through May 4, 2020, per the Governor’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" Proclamation (PDF).   
  • City Council authorized use of remote meetings on March 10, 2020. 
  • The City received 100 homemade cloth face coverings from EvergreenHealth Monroe. These are being distributed to staff to be worn, to prevent spreading coronavirus if the employee is infected and not showing symptoms, when:
    • Working in an area where six foot separation cannot be maintained, or 
    • Working in common areas where other people will be within three hours, or
    • Working in private areas where someone else will work within three hours. 
  • The City of Monroe requested and received $10,000 from the Community Foundation of Snohomish County to provide assistance to the vulnerable homeless population during the COVID-19 crisis, including: 
    • An additional porta potty and hand washing station
    • A portable shower trailer
    • PPE kits to distribute to those in encampments
    • Hotel vouchers

City Council 

  • Confirmed Mayor’s Proclamation of Emergency March 10, 2020. 
  • Authorized use of remote meetings March 10, 2020. 
  • Confirmed Mayor’s Emergency Executive Orders on April 28, 2020. 

City Clerk

  • Only Board/Commission/Committee Meetings deemed to be held to address matters that meet the “necessary and routine” criteria will be scheduled through May 31, 2020.

Open Public Meetings Guidance

  • Per the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28 issued March 24th, and amended April 2nd: all meetings subject to the OPMA must remain open to the public through remote means ONLY (not in-person). 
  • Actions at these meetings are limited to: (1) matters necessary and routine; or (2) necessary to respond to the outbreak and current public health emergency; and there are additional noticing requirements. 
  • All such meetings should follow these guidelines through May 31, 2020.
  • Criteria has been distributed to the Senior Leadership Team for individuals to follow if planning to host one of these meetings during this time. 

Public Records Act Guidance 

  • Per the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28 issued March 24th: all in-person records request submission/records inspection/copying of records has been suspended AND the requirement to provide initial response within five days has been suspended; these guidelines are in place through May 31, 2020. As with the OPMA guidance, it is anticipated the Governor will extend PRA guidance timelines to be consistent with the Stay Home/Stay Healthy order. 
  • All currently scheduled inspection appointment should be cancelled or postponed; electronic production of records is strongly encouraged; and fees for electronic records production still apply.
  • Staff should endeavor to continue to respond to requests in a timely manner to prevent a backlog, all the while balancing with the imminent needs and duties related to the COVID-19 response.  

Municipal Court

  • In custody arraignments continue via video feed to the County Jail.
  • Hearings and trials have been postponed until after May 4, 2020.
  • Court staff are working alternative schedules. Each staff member working remotely half day and in the office half day. 
  • Court staff are available 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to answer phones.
  • Court staff may also be reached by email - court@monroewa.gov

Finance Department 

  • Office employees are telecommuting and in the office only for essential duties that cannot be performed remotely.
  • Phones are on “night-mode”. City Hall phones are going directly to voice mail. Messages will be checked remotely and responded to as appropriate.
  • Over the phone credit card payments for City Hall are currently suspended.  Anyone making a payment for utilities or permits can do so on our website.  All other payments may be made by check and placed in the drop box outside the City Hall front lobby.
  • There were no utility shut offs during March or April and late fees are being suspended for the bills due on April 30th.  May bill for the new charges are being processed and will be mailed the first week of May. With no late fees in May, there will be no shut offs during May also.
  • Republic Services will begin to allow those business that have had to shut down complete to suspend their garbage services until the Governor’s order is lifted.  Further information can be obtained from Republic Services. 

Human Resources 

  • Enabling remote access to computer to allow for teleworking.
  • Assisting employees with leave requests.
  • All employees will continue to be paid. Keeping all employees, and their families, whole as we move through this challenge is a priority.
  • Rolling additional remote meeting capacity with Zoom.

Parks & Recreation

  • All City playgrounds are closed. 
  • We have posted signs encouraging social distancing and sanitation in our parks and on our buildings.
  • Park restrooms, parking lots, sports courts & athletic fields, picnic shelters, Lake Tye skate park and Wiggly Field dog park are closed.
  • All park facility and special event applications for scheduled events through May 4 are cancelled.  Reservations beyond May 4 will continue to be accepted under the condition that they may be subject to cancellation.
  • Office staff are working from home, available by email and phone working on tasks, projects, customer service as well as completing online training opportunity modules.
  • Field staff are working a split field/work from home schedule.  In Field: focus on sanitation, safety inspection of park/trail facilities, mowing only of high-use areas in compliance with the Governor’s order; Work from home: complete online education training modules.
  • In compliance with the April 27,2020 Proclamation by the Governor amending previous proclamations adjusting the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order, the City of Monroe will open up limited parking for day use hiking and fishing access at city public parks beginning Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Staff will open parking lots at Al Borlin, Lewis Street, Sky River, and Lake Tye Parks.
  • Under the current State order, all other existing city park facility closures shall remain in effect to fully comply with the social distancing and coronavirus related hygiene requirements of the governor’s order.  Gatherings are still not permitted.  Only members of the same household may travel and recreate together.  Physical distancing is required.  Keep six feet between individuals outside your immediate household. 
  • The City will continue to monitor compliance with social distancing requirements, updates to the Governor’s Order; and will make adjustments as necessary. Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5, parks staff will open up the following parking lots in our parks in compliance with the current Governor Order to allow fishing and hiking access:
    • Al Borlin Park - Simons Road entry gate will be opened, parking areas within the park for fishing access and hiking on trails.
    • Lewis Street Park - Gates to small parking lot will be opened for access to Al Borlin trailhead from Lewis Street Park.
    • Sky River Park – All parking lots will be opened with the exception of the parking lot for Rotary Field.  Gate to south parking lot area will be opened.  For access to walking paths and fishing access.
    • Lake Tye Park  All parking lots will be opened with the exception of the small parking area at the south end of the park adjacent to Fryelands Elementary School.  For access to walking paths and fishing access including use of the small boat launch.
  • All park restrooms, neighborhood park parking lots, sports courts, athletic fields, play structures, picnic shelters, skate park and Wiggly Field dog park remain closed as gatherings are still not permitted.  Parks staff will regularly check the closed facilities to ensure that signage is posted and any barriers around closed equipment are intact.  Under the current order and through Phase 1, only members of the same household may travel and recreate together.  Physical distancing is still required, keeping six feet between individuals outside of immediate households.
  • This level of park facility re-opening(parking lots and boat launches) and facilities that remain closed(due to having high-touch surfaces and/or encourage gathering) is consistent with other parks and recreation jurisdictions throughout our state including Snohomish County parks.  These closures will likely remain in effect through the duration of the Governor’s Phase 1 that he outlined last Friday.

Police Department 

  • Suspended fingerprinting services. 
  • The police department is not accepting new applications for concealed pistol license applications. Allowing renewals by mail.
  • No non-police employees are allowed in the building.
  • Administrative/Clerical personnel are working 2 four shifts in office and at home the rest of the weeks.  At least one clerical staff is on duty Monday-Friday 8 am - 4 pm.
  • Arrestees will be taken directly to jail and not brought to the PD if possible.
  • Ride-a-longs with officers have been suspended.
  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is mandatory and will be used in accordance with MPD Response Checklist COVID-19 (3/19/20).
  • Officers are encouraged to handle cold calls / non-urgent reports telephonically.
  • Disinfectant protocols have been put in place for property and evidence handling.
  • Motor officers have been transitioned to vehicles.
  • The Community Outreach program has been suspended.
  • All officers are screened and temperature taken prior to shift.
  • The department will be receiving all incoming mail and packages for the City, setting up a distribution system in the closed lobby.
  • The department has requested additional PPE supplies from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. 
  • New and renewal pet licenses have been suspended until further notice.

Public Works 

  • The city’s field personnel are working the normal schedules based out of their home to maintain the city’s water, sewer, storm and roadway systems. They will continue to follow recommended COVID-19 health and safety protocols in the conduct of their daily work (hand washing, social distancing, etc.). 
  • Office staff are working from home. 
  • Staff are currently enrolled in courses offered by the American Public Works Association, American Water Works Association, and the Washington Environmental Training Center when not responding to calls for service.  
  • Public Works staff delivered 10’ x 20’ tent to Medical Reserve Corps in Everett to use at drive-by COVID-19 testing site. 
  • Design & Construction Division office staff is working remotely. Inspectors are only inspecting projects that are deemed essential as outlined by the Governor.
  • Staff have refurbished the decontamination shower in the old shop building for use as necessary after close person to person contact.  
  • Staff acquired 3 gallons of liquid hand sanitizer.  15 individual size bottles have been procured and delivered to police.  24 additional bottles are expected by 4/30 for distribution to essential workers.