The Leesburg Town Council on Friday adopted an ordinance ensuring its government operations continue, with some modifications, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Council members had called a special meeting this morning to consider the ordinance following the town’s declaration of a local emergency March 18. Among the items passed in the ordinance include a suspension of the town’s expedited land development review process; rules regarding the designation of interim department successors during the emergency; and significant guidance on meetings, whether in person or electronic.
The bulk of the conversation during Friday morning’s session focused on council concerns regarding public meetings. Some had asked about allowing the public to participate electronically in council meetings, something that the town’s IT Director, Kuba Jedrzejczak, said he was hoping to offer further guidance on in May. Others questioned the guidelines on the support needed for cancelling meetings or calling special meetings. The council recently supported Town Manager Kaj Dentler’s recommendation to cancel its work sessions in April and May, leaving only its four business meetings those months.
The same meeting guidelines in the ordinance that apply to the Town Council will also apply to the town’s boards and commissions.
Interim Town Attorney Martin Crim had pressed for the ordinance.
“It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” he said during Friday’s meeting.
The ordinance passed by a 6-0-1 vote, with Councilman Josh Thiel absent. Vice Mayor Marty Martinez and Councilman Ron Campbell participated electronically.
The ordinance will be in effect for six months unless rescinded earlier by the council, or extended, by council action, to a later date.
The ordinance is available at leesburgva.gov, under the Town Council agendas.