City of Marquette’s response ramps up
MARQUETTE — The city of Marquette is adjusting hour by hour, day by day to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting its response to the novel coronavirus that’s spreading across the state, with the first death reported Wednesday at a Wayne County Hospital.
Though there haven’t yet been any reported cases in the Upper Peninsula or Marquette County, Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli noted that things are changing rapidly.
“I’d like people to continue to take this seriously while at the same time trying to continue on with everyday life,” Angeli said. “I’m encouraged by what I see so far and with the response from the public for the changes that we have made. Which basically means not many — if anyone — is complaining to us.”
City officials are focusing on what they can control: the public’s contact with city staff and within city facilities, Angeli said. The city has also canceled or postponed all non-essential city meetings, he added.
The only essential meetings are the Marquette City Commission and Marquette Planning Commission. At these meetings, both entities are separated at the dais and the public is not allowed in the meetings, Angeli said, adding that the public is still able to participate via email or conference call.
The city is conducting its day-to-day operations and working hard to maintain services the city and staff provide to the citizens of Marquette. City staff are encouraged to communicate via electronics and do more conference calling with outside entities, Angeli noted.
Marquette City Hall staff is also applying recommendations for social distancing by using phone or email to communicate with one another to limit the amount of nonessential person-to-person contact, Angeli explained.
Lakeview Arena and the Baraga Gym were closed to the public Monday; all Lakeview Arena public programming, open skate and drop-in sessions are canceled for the remainder of the ice season but previously scheduled prive ice rentals will be honored through March 20.
Arena tenants, including Superior Hockey, Superior Watershed Partnership, Noquemanon Trail Network and Marquette Junior Hockey will operate at their discretion and should be contacted directly for further information, city officials said. All upcoming Marquette Arts and Culture Center programming has also been canceled.
“I’d like to say that our goal is to continue to provide our normal services with the least amount of disruption as possible,” Angeli said. “And our staff is prepared to do just that. In turn, we will do everything possible to make life as easy as we can under the circumstances. No reason for us to add to the stress.”
People can pay their city bills using the drop boxes available at Marquette City Hall near the upper level parking lot, inside the lower level near the Marquette City Police Department and outside the treasurer’s office on the upper level.
People can use pay by phone at 1-855-246-9466 or the online method at marquettemi.gov to pay utility bills and parking tickets; the city will be waiving processing fees of these payment methods at least until April 6.
To pay for parking tickets via phone, call 906-292-7794. Other options include signing up for autopay — forms are available on the city’s website by clicking on the autopay application link to download the pdf form.
The city of Marquette has suspended service disconnections for non-payment until further notice and late fees will not be implemented until further notice, city officials said. However, customers should pay what they can to avoid a much larger balance in the future if they hold off to submit their payments, city officials noted. If a person’s account has a high balance and is behind in payments, city officials encourage them to seek utility assistances now.
Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith said people need to continue their daily activities within their homes and many people have found Marquette’s forests an outlet during this time of confinement.
“City government is operating well and residents can expect their services to be maintained, (there is a) resources link on our web page,” Smith said. “(The) city will be updating the public regularly with any changes, (and the) importance of social distancing, taking care of our elderly and vulnerable neighbors.”
Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is email@example.com.