City of Jacksboro provides COVID-19 update
Jacksboro City Manager Mike Smith provided an update about the three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jack County and what the city is doing to stay prepared during the Jacksboro City Council Meeting Monday, April 13.
Smith said all three cases are in Jacksboro.
“All three of those cases we can tie back together,” the city manager said. “So, on two of those we have a mother-daughter. On the third case, it is actually an 18-month-old child. It was the child of an individual that had close contact with one of the first two cases.”
The city manager said the city of Jacksboro had a trigger point, of the first positive COVID-19 case being identified, which set some new precautions into effect.
He said the police department is monitoring the individuals who are known to have tested positive to ensure they are self-quarantining like they are supposed to and the department is also watching for gatherings of 10 or more people.
“They are certainly not arresting folks right now,” Smith said. “They have kind of done a stepped approach, (…) we are doing verbal warnings, then we may do some written warnings and then it may get to a point where we actually have to issue some citations. We have not gotten to that point just yet.”
He said the fire department has gone into a modified shift schedule with two to three individuals working 24-hour shifts.
“The way we accomplish that is by pulling in three full-time city employees that were also volunteers, so they were trained,” Smith said. “So, we pulled them of their normal duties and they are now performing different shifts inside the fire department.”
He added one of those individuals includes the animal control officer, so the city is scaling back on animal control. He said the police department is helping out with vicious animals and whoever is on shift at the fire department will attempt to assist on animal control calls when they can.
“We are more committed to first responder duties than we are animal control and we will be for a period of time,” Smith said.
The city manger added the water department, water plant and waste water plant also went into modified shift schedules.
“Normally, we have two individuals that work at those plants,” Smith said. “They are not both there all the time, but there is several days a week where we have both of them working at the same time. We have gone into modified shifts so that we only have one individual at the water plant and waste water plant and we do not have overlapping shifts.”
The city manager said modified shifts are also occurring at city hall. He said a number of people are working from home, so they rotate how many people are in the building.
“Up until last Thursday, we were letting people in if they had some paper work they needed to do,” Smith said. “Now, we have kind of stepped it up a little bit and we are working more paper type issues through email, texts or however we can make it work. So, we don’t have as many people coming into the building.”
The city manager said there is one city employee who is self-quarantining because the individual is dating someone who has been potentially exposed.
Smith also discussed his concern over the loss of sales tax revenue due to the pandemic.
“I had a long conversation with Representative (Drew) Springer’s office last Thursday,” he said. “None of the programs, so far, that federal government has put out under the CARES act will help cities at all.”
He said he is preparing letters for the council and mayor to review, sign and send to elected representatives about helping small cities.
Smith said the city of Jacksboro continues to work closely with Jacksboro ISD, Jack County and the city of Bryson.