A Letter for Challenging Times
To the Town Residents and Businesses From the Board of Trustees
March 20, 2020
Dear Town Residents and Businesses,
We are living in challenging times and we are grateful for support that our Berthoud community continues to display for each other. As a result of the COVID-19 virus, and the response efforts throughout the region, nation, and the world, the Town of Berthoud has significantly limited our operations. As you have hopefully seen through previous announcements, the Town has closed its offices to the public, cancelled spring recreational activities for youth and adults, and has taken steps to limit public interaction in all our services. These precautionary steps are being taken to reduce the probability of virus transmission among our very small team of dedicated employees. Keeping them healthy so that essential services like clean water production and delivery, sewage treatment, elections, public safety, and more can continue to be provided throughout this emergency.
We are all encouraged by the great community spirit shown by the residents and businesses of Berthoud. We encourage everyone to follow directives issued by the Federal and State governments to stay home and do your part to limit the virus spread. Follow the guidance from public health officials, wash your hands frequently, limit trips outside of your home to the essentials, and if you are experiencing any illness symptoms, please stay home in every instance possible other than to receive urgently needed medical care.
Moving forward, the Town will be instituting additional operational modifications in response to this emergency. On March 20, the Board approved an emergency ordinance amending the municipal code to allow for virtual meetings of the Town Board. Effective immediately, all public meetings of the Town Board will be conducted virtually using a web and telephone conferencing service. Instructions for how to participate will be included with the Agendas when they are distributed. This will continue until the emergency threat related to COVID-19 is reduced to non-emergency levels.
We are also asking employees to limit their time at their normal work site. Specifically, Town offices will remain closed to public access and customer services will be provided Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Town staff will not be available between 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM each day. This will allow our staff to be split into two shifts so that essential work can be performed with fewer people while still being available to address public concerns via phone and e-mail for the entirety of the normal work week. These restrictions will not apply to our police services provided by the Larimer County Sheriff who are continuing to provide excellent service to the Town.
Additionally, on Tuesday, March 24, the Board will be considering a program to waive late fees and suspend all utility shut offs for nonpayment through May 26. While we encourage everyone to continue to pay their utility bills on time as they are able, we will also establish payment plans for anyone who is unable to do so, as we always have. Our goal is to reduce the stress that is inevitably felt by those who have been laid off, have reduced work hours, or who are trying to continue to run their businesses during these trying times. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns.
Lastly, please consider supporting our local businesses where possible. Many restaurants and stores are still providing drive-thru, delivery, and take-out services and we encourage everyone to continue to frequent these establishments as appropriate for your circumstances. We also suggest that you consider buying gift cards from local businesses if you can. This may allow them to maintain some cash flows in exchange for the promise of future services. If you are a local business in need of support, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Town’s Business Development Manager, Walt Elish, at (970) 344-5806. He is maintaining a list of resources that may be available to businesses and will work to connect you to those that can help.
Please stay positive and look for ways to safely and responsibly support your families, your neighbors, and our community. We will all get through this together.
The Town of Berthoud Board of Trustees