The McAlester City Council met in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to consider resolutions related to the city’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. At the end of the meeting, Mayor John Browne proclaimed a state of emergency for the city.

 The first of three resolutions approved by the council Tuesday recognized that the City of McAlester will be financially impacted as a result of policy and procedures to combat the spread of COVID-19. The action authorized the city manager to use the emergency fund to insulate general fund programs to cover revenue shortfalls of revenues and monthly expenditures up to $500,000.

 The second resolution further expanded the city manager’s ability to financially respond to the COVID-19 emergency by temporarily increasing the expenditure amount the manager can authorize from $25,000 to $50,000 before requiring a vote of the city council. The additional spending authorization is set to expire on June 30, 2020.

 The last resolution approved by the McAlester City Council on Tuesday provides relief to utility customers of the city that are financially impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The councilors voted to authorize the city manager to suspend the 10-day cut off policy for utility services until July 1, 2020.

 Before the meeting adjourned, Mayor Brown issued a proclamation that a state of emergency exists within the city limits of McAlester effective as of 5:30 pm on March 17, 2020. The mayor recognized that all public facilities of the city are closed and programs are canceled until April 5, 2020. 

 The proclamation also calls on businesses and private entities to consider actions to protect the public by discouraging in-person gatherings, urging citizens to follow protocols of state and federal agencies and to use discretion in public spaces. The document encourages residents and visitors to continue to support businesses in the city with an emphasis on take-out or delivery options when available.

 The McAlester City Council is set for a regular meeting at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. City staff is currently researching the best way for the meetings to remain open and transparent while protecting the members of the council and public. Information will be posted prior to the meeting. For more information and to see current updates, visit the city’s website at www.cityofmcalester.com or follow the City of McAlester, OK – Government on Facebook.