City of Independence announces changes in services, closures, cancellations as part of State of Emergency
The City of Independence announced the following changes in services, closures and cancellations. Residents and patrons of the City of Independence will begin seeing these changes today and until further notice or dates provided, as this situation evolves.
“This emergency is evolving but it is our social responsibility to help flatten the curve by doing what we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 while protecting our residents, visitors and people who work within the City limits,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “To bring some context on how quickly COVID-19 has spread, on February 21, Italy saw 19 cases of this disease, today they have more than 12,500 and their healthcare workers are now making challenging life or death decisions for hundreds of patients. We are following the directions of the CDC while working with our local hospitals, schools, business owners and residents to encourage the public to take precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
Below is a summary of the changes of service that the public will see.
Facilities – Facilities maintenance crews will increase regular cleaning rotations throughout the various buildings, including sanitizing regularly touched locations such as door handles, counters, elevator buttons and railings.
Paying utility bills – Customers coming into the Independence Utilities Center may continue to make payments through the drive thru or at the cashier windows inside. Customers are encouraged to pay their utility bills via the City’s website here, indep.us/utilitybillpayment, or over the automated phone system at (816) 325-SERV. All credit card and online transaction fees are being waived until further notice.
Utility shutoffs - There will be no utility shut offs until further notice.
Building/Health/Code Enforcement/Environmental/Fire Inspections - Field staff for the various City departments will continue to provide normal inspections, however, there will be daily safety briefings reminding staff of proper protection protocol. Once there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jackson County, departments will suspend in-person contact with individuals and will evaluate the suspension of inspections. Plan Reviews and New Business Inspections will continue throughout this situation.
Animal Shelter - The Regional Animal Shelter will continue adoptions of animals but this will be by appointment only. To schedule an adoption appointment call (816)325-7207.
Recreation Facilities and Programs – The Palmer Senior Center, Truman Memorial Building, Sermon Community Center, George Owens Nature Center, National Frontier Trails Museum and Uptown Market are closed beginning Sunday, March 15, until further notice. All rentals, classes, programs, events and activities beginning on March 15 have been cancelled or postponed. Patrons will receive credits for future classes or refunds for cancelled classes.
Rentals at the Uptown Market are an exception. The City does not provide an onsite-staff person for rentals at the Market and as such, those will be allowed to take place as scheduled.
Historic site openings will be delayed until April 11.
The City is working with the Mid-America Regional Council to provide meals for those who have signed up for the onsite lunch program at the Palmer Senior Center for the remainder of the month.
Memberships for our various city facilities will be extended past the expiration date for as many days as the facilities are closed.
Municipal Court – Municipal Court will be closed the weeks of March 16 and 23, though the court clerks will still be taking payment at the windows. Further closures will be evaluated as this situation continues. As the court dates are updated, individuals may check the website to get the new date, https://www.municipalrecordsearch.com/independencemo.
Police Department - The police department is implementing some operational adjustments including work schedules and encouraging citizens to report certain types of incidents over the phone instead of utilizing critical emergency resources to respond to their location. When requesting police services, please continue to call 9-1-1 for emergencies and (816) 836-3600 for non-emergencies and past occurred incidents. Our call takers will assign a priority level and determine the best course of action.
Fire Department - The fire department is implementing some operational adjustments including enhancing our vetting when a 911 call is received, to obtain more information critical to our response profile. We will also be reducing some of our non-essential activities that require crews to leave their stations. Our citizens should continue to call 9-1-1 for emergencies and (816) 836-3600 for non-emergencies.
Census – There will be no Census Assistant Centers available at this time. You will receive your mailing this week and can complete it online, by phone or by mail. Mayor Weir is leading the Independence Complete Count Committee and she will continue to coordinate this effort and provide information to the citizens and community partners who are assisting in the Census outreach. Visit 2020census.gov for questions or details.
Food Handlers and Managers Classes – These classes will continue normal operations with staff cleaning the area after each class. Once there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jackson County, we will suspend these classes.
Silverstein Eye Centers Arena – All events at this city-owned facility have been postponed through the first weekend of April. The City is working closely with the management company overseeing the daily operations and acts booked for this venue. Further details will be provided if there are additional cancellations on their website silversteineyecentersarena.com.
Household Hazardous Waste Event – This event previously scheduled for April 4 has been postponed. The make-up date will be shared once it is available.
Japanese Sister City delegation trip postponed – The Japanese Sister City exchange has been postponed until 2021.
While all other City operations will continue as normal, our resources may be stressed as employees take leaves of absence or choose to telecommute, if their position allows. As such, please note that our response times for certain service requests may be delayed.
“We are in frequent communication with our key strategic partners, including the Jackson County Health Department, the school districts, the Mid-Continent Public Library, Chamber of Commerce, and healthcare providers to ensure a coordinated response,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “We will continue to have regular conversations with all of these groups throughout this event.”
The Jackson County Health Department today issued an executive order calling for no events with 1,000 or more pe ople. This order includes the City of Independence. However, the City has taken additional steps beyond this order to protect the citizens of this community. You can find an up-to-date list of changes in services, closures and cancellations at indep.us/coronavirus. This website will be updated regularly as this situation continues to evolve.
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