BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – For all intents and purposes, the City of West Point has shut down.
City Administrator Dennis McGregor said Monday morning, the city is sending all hourly employees home with pay indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
McGregor said city crews will share daily responsibilities of regular checks of the city’s water and sewer intakes, but other than that almost all employees will be on an on-call basis, including West Point Utility workers.
“They’ve got daily routines they need to continue to do. Water checks…lift station checks… sewer intakes need to be checked and we’ll continue to do those. But they won’t be working together, they will be sharing that,” McGregor said.
“We’re not going to have them riding around in trucks side by side together.”
If there were to be a power outage due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, McGregor said utilities crews will be ready to handle those situations.
He said the city’s office staff is still available by phone, but most of them are working from home as well.
“Our office is available and we’ve posted our number on the door and on Facebook. We’re still here, taking phone calls and can do business if needed by appointment,” he said.
Trash service is a private service in West Point and McGregor said anyone wanting to pay water or electric bills can still do so by dropping them in the box at City Hall or mail to city offices at P.O. Box 69, West Point, Iowa 52656.
McGregor said he’s trying to be optimistic about the impact of the coronavirus, but fears things will get worse.
“I don’t know, I’m kind of like everyone else. From what I can see across the nation. Things will get far worse before they get better. I don’t foresee Lee County staying out of this, and if it does reach Lee County you’ll see more shutdowns of businesses than you’re seeing right now,” McGregor said.
“Everybody here in town is doing their best to be safe. I don’t think I’ve seen the streets of West Point so empty.”
McGregor said he talked with West Point Mayor Paul Walker Monday morning, who was delivering in the Chicago area.
“He drives for Merschman Seeds and he was in Chicago this morning. He said it was eerie. No traffic to speak of, it was unlike anything he’s ever seen.”