City Manager Comments on City of Buda’s Response to COVID-19
By Kenneth Williams, Buda City Manager
Buda City Council Meeting
March 20, 2020
The City of Buda has been working diligently over the last many weeks to protect the health and safety of citizens and other occupants of Buda. Work has been done in coordination with Mayor George Haehn, Emergency Management Director and Mike Beggs, Emergency Management Coordinator and the Buda City Council in response to the COVID-19 event. The Mayor has taken definitive action by implementing a Disaster Declaration in order to provide the needed resources and reimbursements while sending the message of awareness and calmness while remaining vigilant in response to this event.
Emergency coordination has included actions with the Federal/State government, Hays County, the Health Community, Food/goods suppliers, cities of Hays County, and others. Public information has been constantly communicated by David Marino, City Communications Director to the public. All city employees have contributed in responding to the event and I would like to thank them for their dedication and spirit in providing for the citizens of Buda while taking care of their families and loved ones.
As City Manager of the City of Buda the purpose of this statement is to update the public on actions that have been taken by the City of Buda organization in safeguarding all aspects of our city. Just to name a few:
1) Suspension of City of Buda sponsored activities. With the threat of spreading this virus actions were taken to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, group sizing and the limitation of public events thereby protecting the public and city employees from spread of the virus.
2) Suspension of group events on public property again controlling spread of this dreadful virus.
3) Closure of the City of Buda Library. Some special arrangements were scheduled for the use of computers and online check out of documents, but normal operations have been suspended.
4) Implementation of virtual working from home for nonessential employees where possible. There is no walkup service at the Municipal Complex. All services may be accessed virtually including service request, bill pay, discussions with city employees, permitting, etc. These activities will be conducted virtually, with all services remaining available to our citizens through Telecommunication policies.
5) City Manager has implemented, with direction from Vicki Fuchs, HR Director, and City Council amendment of our Sick Leave policy to coincide with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act actions to ensure the good health of city employees while operating in this difficult time. This allows employees to be off work if impacted by the virus, whether themselves or family members. City of Buda health insurance covers 100% of the cost for testing for employees. The Health Department and the drive through test is free for all.
6) Travel restrictions have been placed on employees as nonessential travel has been suspended.
City Attorney George Hyde and his firm have provided the legal guidance to steer a safe course during this happening. The City of Buda Police Department under the direction of Chief Bo Kidd, continues to provide a safe and secure environment. Public Works is working in providing safe drinking water and a steady wastewater system. Sanitation and trash pickups by ATS remain on schedule. Our parks, directed by Greg Olmer, continue to function in offering a quiet safe space for people to relax.
As you can see by tonight’s agenda, actions are being taken to maintain thriving economic development ground to assist local business during this difficult time.This week Mayor Haehn, Mike Beggs, Micah Grau, Assistant City Manager, Lauren Middleton Pratt, ACM and I met with the managers of Walmart and HEB to discuss supplies and offer mutual support. Out of that came set aside time on Tuesdays for seniors to shop from 6:00 am - 7:30 am untroubled at Walmart.
This is a fluid event and things change very quickly as witnessed over the last few weeks so we will continue to adapt. While perception is often reality in situations such as this, we must work to resolve whatever issues come before us, rather real or manufactured. We continue to implore people to remain calm but vigilant, adhere to CDC regulations and to work with State and local officials to lessen the impact of this event on the people of Buda.
Thank you for all your support. God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the great State of Texas and may God Bless our great City of Buda.