The Roswell City Council voted unanimously in a special session Thursday evening to declare the city an emergency area as a result of COVID-19.
The resolution will mainly allow the city to seek resources and reimbursement for expenses related to COVID-19 from state and federal agencies.
City Attorney Aaron Holloman, answering a question from Councilor Juan Oropesa, said the resolution does not affect how residents can go about their day-to-day lives.
“This is a routine matter for an unprecedented situation,” Holloman said.
The resolution, whose language Holloman said was taken from the New Mexico Department of Health website, establishes the criteria set at state and federal levels for releasing supplies and funds to local governments.
City Manager Joe Neeb said it is similar to a resolution that might be used in natural disasters, such as flood or fire.
“It allows us to access additional resources that might not be available to us at this time,” Holloman said.
“Primarily it is a mechanism to get those funds,” he said.
Chaves County/Roswell Emergency Manager Karen Sanders reiterated that point, saying it can get the ball rolling to request resources such as personal protective equipment and reimbursement for up to 75% of expenses related to COVID-19.
“It gives zero additional powers to myself or anyone else in this room,” Mayor Dennis Kintigh said.
After the resolution was passed, the council went into executive session to discuss personnel issues related to the COVID-19 situation. Kintigh told the Daily Record earlier this week that discussion would mainly be about reassigning some staff to different offices based on individuals’ skillsets and background.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.