Milton City Council members pass emergency ordinance to conduct essential business virtually amid coronavirus pandemic

Milton City Council members unanimously passed a 30-day emergency ordinance March 16 that canceled all non-essential city meetings and allows council members to meet only on coronavirus-related matters. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Milton City Council members unanimously passed a 30-day emergency ordinance March 16 that canceled all nonessential city meetings and allows council members to meet only on coronavirus-related matters. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Milton City Council members unanimously passed a 30-day emergency ordinance March 16 that canceled all nonessential city meetings and allows council members to meet only on coronavirus-related matters. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Milton city officials closed all city buildings for the next 30 days beginning March 16, according to a city press release. Milton City Council members also passed a 30-day emergency ordinance at the shortened March 16 meeting, halting all matters that require a public hearing, canceling all city board and committee meetings, and allowing for City Council to meet only on matters regarding the coronavirus and other public health and safety issues.

"I don't know that since I've been practicing law for about a quarter of a century that I can think of a time that has necessitated an emergency ordinance more than today. This is an extraordinary time, an extraordinary situation for local governments throughout the state and nation," said Ken Jarrard, a lawyer for the city of Milton, during the meeting.

Any permits that lapse during this time will be extended, and any permits that require a public hearing will be stayed for the time being, Jarrard said. City employees will still conduct business remotely and can be reached via phone or email.

Jarrard said the emergency ordinance can be extended for another 30 days after the initial 30-day mark expires, or it can be repealed at City Council's discretion. The ordinance can also end early, if needed.

This ordinance comes just days after the city canceled all parks and recreation programs and indoor and outdoor facility rentals through April 12. These additional cancellations will extend to match the duration of the emergency ordinance.


"To the residents of Milton: we will get through this," Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said in a March 16 press release. "Once this emergency passes, Milton's government will be back even more open, effective and stronger than ever. In the meantime, you should have faith that—emergency or not—we're still here to serve you."
By Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the reporter for north Houston's Tomball/Magnolia edition in September 2018, moving to Alpharetta in January 2020 after a promotion to be the editor of the Alpharetta/Milton edition, which is Community Impact's first market in Georgia.