Bellaire now under state of local disaster, will consider postponing charter election

Water tower
Bellaire City Council will decide March 23 whether to extend its local disaster declaration and postpone a special election scheduled for May 2 to allow voters to decide the fate of three propositions targeting sidewalk construction and the city’s notification process to those affected by such construction. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

Bellaire City Council will decide March 23 whether to extend its local disaster declaration and postpone a special election scheduled for May 2 to allow voters to decide the fate of three propositions targeting sidewalk construction and the city’s notification process to those affected by such construction. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Bellaire has declared itself under a state of local disaster due to a public health emergency.

Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg signed the declaration March 20, allowing the city to respond more rapidly to developing issues and requirements from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in combating COVID-19.

Coinciding with the disaster declaration, effective March 23, all city buildings will be closed to the public, all city-sponsored events are canceled until further notice, and all public city meetings will be conducted by teleconference or be canceled.

The local declaration is designed to last seven days, though Bellaire City Council will consider an extension of the declaration during a special meeting March 23, City Manager Paul Hoffman said.

Fire, police, EMS and public works services will still be available at all times, according to a city announcement on the declaration. The city is also encouraging city business to be handled online or via phone where possible and urging water customers to pay online.


A second item of consideration during the meeting will be to postpone a charter election scheduled for May 2, spurred by three separate resident-approved propositions that would amend the city’s charter. The three propositions, signed by 5% voters in the November 2017 election, all focus on sidewalk construction and the notification process by the city to residents that would be affected by such construction. Bellaire City Council formally passed an ordinance calling the election during a Feb. 10 special session.

To follow CDC-recommended size limits of 10 people for gatherings, the special meeting will be held remotely, Hoffman said. Council members will phone in to the meeting, and members of the public will need to watch the meeting via the city’s livestreaming service. If a resident is looking to make public comment, they will have to call in through a toll-free number provided by the city, Hoffman said.

“We’ve been developing a plan this week that will work as a conference call,” Hoffman said. “Monday’s approach will likely be basic.”

Should the council vote to postpone the charter election, it would move to Nov. 3, City Clerk Tracy Dutton said.

However, such a postponement would allow Bellaire to contract with Harris County and share costs with other municipalities that are contracting with the county and having an election in November, Dutton said.

In declaring a local disaster, Bellaire will be following the city of West University Place, which signed its disaster declaration March 17. West U will also have a meeting on Monday to decide on an extension for its declaration.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

Baylor College of Medicine and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center are partnering in a transfusion study designed to treat COVID-19 using blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Courtesy Pexels
Baylor College of Medicine, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, other hospitals join focus on transfusion study

The process involves taking the blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and giving it to those fighting the disease.

Houston City Council could soon consider an ordinance to require all hotel and motel operators to adopt human trafficking prevention training for all of their employees. (Courtesy Pexels)
Proposed Houston ordinance would require anti-human trafficking training for all hotel workers

If adopted, Houston would be only the second city in the nation to adopt such a requirement.

All city of Houston parks are closed through Easter weekend to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Following Harris County, all city of Houston parks closed for Easter weekend, April 9-13

Mayor Turner said the decision was spurred by the fact the city of Houston reported 615 new positive coronavirus cases April 9, the highest jump to date.

As new resources become available for small business owners, there is hope for some small business owners. (Courtesy Pexels)
Small business owners: How are you getting through this? Have you applied for loans? Considering furloughs? We want to hear from you

Community Impact Newspaper is checking in with businesses to learn about their experience requesting and receiving aid, as well as other ways they are handling the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Harris County Homeless Outreach Team is providing homeless individuals with hand sanitizer, face masks and information sheets on the coronavirus. (Courtesy Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Harris County's Homeless Outreach Team spreads coronavirus awareness, distributes essential supplies to vulnerable populations

On the frontlines of one of the county’s most vulnerable populations, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Homeless Outreach Team is spreading awareness and providing essential supplies to homeless populations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Affordable Counseling Collaborative Associates offers various kinds of therapy, including family and child therapy. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-based Affordable Counseling Collaborative Associates offers online counseling during coronavirus outbreak

“We don’t come at them like, ‘We’re gonna tell you how to live your life,’” therapist Tracy Morris said. “It’s far more about helping them find the strength even when they feel like they don’t have any.”

Those anxiously awaiting the end of stay-at-home orders have another thing to look forward to: progress on several transportation projects around Clear Lake and League City. (Courtesy Fotolia)
ROUNDUP: South Houston communities continue coronavirus response

Here is what South Houston readers should know about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting the area.

Second Servings
Bellaire nonprofit Second Servings partners with Hess Corp., Sysco to provide food for hospitality workers

Beginning April 9, Seconds Servings will start distributing 10,000 meals total as part of the program.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science announced April 9 it will furlough 337 staff members. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Houston Museum of Natural Science furloughs 70% of staff

Facing declining revenue and extended closures amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has furloughed 337 staff members and reduced pay for all remaining staff effective April 9.

The Texas Workforce Commission's phone and online systems have been overwhelmed as measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus continue to have a crippling effect on the economy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More Texans have filed for unemployment in past three weeks than in all of 2019

For the second week in a row, more than 6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, according to federal data.

Hospitals in the Greater Houston area are adapting to accommodate a surge of coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Report offers first glimpse at hospital readiness across Houston area

Hospitals within the Texas Medical Center system in the Greater Houston area have plans in place to increase the number of ICU beds available by as much as 80%.

City of Bellaire will close its parks from April 10 to April 13 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday weekend. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire to close parks through weekend, beginning April 10

The city of Bellaire will close its parks from April 10 through April 13 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday weekend, the city announced in a news release.