By Tim Douglass

The City of Starbuck passed an emergency declaration on March 18 due to the COVID-19 virus. The city has closed the office to the public at this time as well as the community center. The mayor and council have declared a city emergency and will be having a series of phone calls to help plan for the COVID-19 response.

The emergency declaration states that the closeness of in-person meetings of the city council and other advisory committees, boards and commissions of the city of Starbuck are not practical or prudent due to the COVID-19 health pandemic and the peacetime emergency declared by Governor Tim Walz. The declaration states that after March 18, 2020, such meetings shall be conducted by telephone or other electronic means unless social distancing of a least six feet between each person can be achieved. The declaration also directs city staff to take action to enable such meetings to occur.

Residents can pay their utility bills by mail at PO Box 606, Starbuck MN 56381 or leave payments in the drop box at the city office front door.

Law enforcement 

continues work, service

County Sheriff’s Office, police release information for public

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office  along with the Glenwood and Starbuck Police Departments last Thursday released the following news release.

“The Pope County Sheriff’s Office, the Glenwood and Starbuck Police Departments are informing the public that our law enforcement agencies are actively working close with area partners in response to the COVID-19,” it was announced in a press release dated Thursday, March 19.

“We would like to inform the public that in response to the COVID-19 law enforcement agencies in Pope County, Minnesota have implemented the following protocols: 

Non-Emergency calls-for-service 

“All non-emergency calls for service will be handled over the phone to avoid face-to-face contact with citizens, and to comply with the social distancing guidelines and avoid the possibility of contaminating officers with COVID-19 virus or other medical illnesses.

“Our law enforcement agencies are also trying to limit the public from reporting non-emergency calls at our office locations. If you need to report any NON-EMERGENCY calls-for-service please contact Pope County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 320-634-5411 or 320-239-2311.

“Examples of Non-Emergency Calls-for-Service: Any calls that are not an immediate risk to public safety; such as civil issue calls, tenant and landlord issues, verbal or social media harassment complaints, thefts, vehicle break-ins, animal complaints, parking complaints, scam calls, any general law enforcement questions or concerns, suspicious activity, etc.”

Emergency calls-for-service

Law enforcement will respond to all emergency calls-for-service and calls that pose a risk or immediate threat to the public safety.
As far as patrols and other law enforcement, duties will continue as usual, and all officers have been advised of safety precautions regarding COVID-19. Any officer who starts having symptoms of the COVID-19 virus or those who have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will notify their supervisor to follow agency protocol for these types of incidents.

Overall, law enforcement’s primary goal is to keep the public, as well as law enforcement officers, safe during this global pandemic.