New Braunfels city government is sailing in uncharted waters — and City Council met before nearly empty chambers Monday night — a format likely to be the template for future meetings.
Council unanimously extended the city’s March 17 emergency disaster declaration and those restricting interpersonal contact and business operations until April 23 or rescinded by council or mayoral action.
“These are uncertain times that have caused us to rethink the ways we provide services to the community,” said City Manager Robert Camareno in reviewing the steps taken by the city over the past six weeks. “We are continuing to provide those services, just not in the same way as we have in the past.”
Camareno praised the cooperation and help received by the city’s 813 employees.
“They have continued to provide services (despite) and I know that they are concerned about their health, the health of their families and the health of their customers,” he said. “They continue to come to work every day — I’m certainly proud of all they have done to serve and protect our community.”
City Attorney Val Acevedo reviewed the city and mayoral powers outlined in the declarations and city actions issued last week and affirmed Monday. Mayor Barron Casteel said the city continues to receive daily information from Comal County and state officials during the crisis.
“We’re getting that information so that the public is aware that this council and city manager are getting advice on the decisions we’re making — from medical and health care providers and getting actual data on the tests performed and tests outstanding — which are growing in number every day.
“We’re making a number of provisions in the days and weeks ahead in the ways that city staff can and has the resources to do. We have a lot we’re simply trying to effectively mobilize and be prepared to respond to this health crisis.”
Camareno said the city will continue to review staffing and services to adapt to the crisis, adding both could be impacted or altered in the coming weeks or months.
“This thing is rapidly evolving and those decisions change each day,” he said.
Except for two postponed until April 13, council approved the rest of its agenda items in 105 minutes then adjourned into a 15-minute executive session that concluded the meeting at 8 p.m.
Council also unanimously approved first readings of ordinances establishing the Wurstfest Special District, passed resolutions supporting Veramendi subdivision’s sale of bonds and land annexations through Comal County Water Improvement Districts 1A and 1B, and approved city intent for self-reimbursement to begin fire station and library 2019 bond projects.