distancing protocols

Abiding by social distancing protocols outlined by the state, Galt City Council members and city staff sit 6-feet from each other at the March 17 council meeting. Residents were asked to sit in the lobby after washing their hands.

Galt City Council Members heard from Interim City Manager Thomas Haglund on more measures being taken due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Haglund, acting as the Director of Emergency Services, intensified restrictions as mandated by the State of California, Sacramento County and the Federal Government.

“The declaration I issued sets in motion activities to begin tomorrow (March 18) using marshal resources for the purpose of responding to the significant threat posed by the virus to the health and safety of our community,” Haglund said. “I seek council’s ratification …”

Haglund said Governor Gavin Newsome said that, because they expect the pandemic to intensify in the coming weeks, all gatherings should be canceled. Last week, he said gatherings should be 10 people or less. All citizens are mandated to “shelter in place” except for essential functions such as doctor visits and trips to the grocery stores.

All committee and commission meetings have also been canceled. Haglund said these measures are “enforceable by law.”

Councilman Shawn Farmer had questions about the mandate.

“If only 80 percent of the population is following these guidelines and the other 20 percent disregard it completely, it’s only going to prolong what we’re going through,” Farmer said. “Are our police schedules being ramped up for this?”

Chief Tod Sockman said his department has already worked on schedules, should they be needed.

“We have schedules produced and ready to be deployed,” Sockman said. “We already have officers at school sites while food is being distributed and conferring with grocery managements.”

Farmer also had questions about essential services.

“With more people at home, there’ll be more waste,” Farmer said. “Will waste management continue?”

Haglund said there are provisions in the contract with Cal-Waste to make sure garbage is collected. He also said that city services would not be cut off during the crisis due to missed payments.

The motion to ratify Hagland’s March 13 decision passed 5-0 with Councilman Curt Campion in attendance via a telecom call.

Council then began its regular meeting with silent prayer and flag salute.

Barbara Payne had contacted council to ask that the Galt Community of Character Coalition be removed from the agenda because of the virus pandemic.

Community Planning Director Chris Erias asked council to release $133,450 from transportation funds so that his department could access consultants to align the General Plan with new mandates required by the state.

Erias also gave a report on the review of the General Plan and Housing Progress required by the state. The report was for 2019 and included 224 unit permits for Parlin Oaks, 58 housing unit permits, and 43 finals passed inspection. Last year, the only lower income housing built was at the Trailridge apartments and one accessory housing unit. He added that the city was only required to make sites available for low-income housing, but he expected the state would become more stringent in the coming year.