HEFLIN — The Heflin City Council unanimously adopted a continuity of operations plan to ensure city services and city government will be maintained during the COVID-19 emergency.
Rudy Rooks, Heflin’s mayor, told the council Tuesday evening that the plan is fluid and subject to change depending on unforeseen and changing circumstances related to the viral outbreak.
Rooks, the council members, the city clerk and a total of two spectators sat six feet apart from each other — as health experts recommend — while the council discussed the plan, which includes ensuring succession of office for key leadership positions, mitigating disruptions to operations and protecting essential assets.
Rooks said that he spoke with officials from Alabama Power and the waterworks and he was assured that those services will not be interrupted. Rooks said that no utility will be cut off due to nonpayment during the crisis.
Rooks also spoke with the owners of Heflin’s two grocery stores and was told that they did not foresee any disruptions to their distributors’ supply chain. There have been some allotments on items, according to Rooks.
Rooks said that restaurants and fast food in Heflin are being hit the hardest with the closing of indoor dining.
“Some of our restaurants have closed up ... it’s totally understandable, some of them such as Damn Yankees, he is offering curbside delivery, Marie’s BBQ, they have a drive-thru,” Rooks said.
“We’ve got to hand it to our restaurants, they are being very creative, they have bills to pay and they've got payroll to make,” said Rooks.
Rooks said the traffic in town is down considerably since the emergency declaration has been issued.
“It’s an eerie feeling but I think it’s going to get better,” the mayor said.
Rooks said that both pharmacies in town are open and encourage the use of drive-thru windows.
Rooks said that all open-air parks will continue to be open and all playgrounds will still be open to the public but they will not be sanitized.
The Rec Center, Armory and the community arts center will be closed to the public. The Rec center will be open only to facilitate the meals delivery for the senior center, Rooks told the council.
Rooks said City Hall will remain open for issuing building permits, business licenses and fishing permits.
Rooks said the police department will continue to operate as usual with an emphasis placed on personal safety. Mutual aid agreements already in place with the sheriff’s office, ALEA and Oxford police department will be activated in the event of a loss of manpower within the Heflin police department, according to the mayor.
Rooks said the fire department will continue to operate as usual and respond to emergencies, with a response restriction placed on residential sick calls.
Cleburne EMS will be the responding agency on sick calls with no assistance from the fire department.
In an event that Cleburne EMS can no longer respond to calls in Heflin, a mutual agreement was established with Oxford EMS to respond to Heflin, Rooks said.
The council adopted a personnel contingency plan, which in the event of illness or other reasons, provides for “three-deep” leadership, in a preferred order:
Mayor Rudy Rooks
Mayor pro tem Travis Crowe
Councilmember Rhonda Green
City Clerk Kim Stone
Human Resource Director Emily Brown
Economic Developer Tanya Maloney
Economic developer Tanya Maloney
Chad Robertson, executive director Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce
Chase Chandler, marketing director Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce
Kevin Brown, Chairman of Heflin industrial development board
Steven Lines, Heflin industrial development board
Police Chief A.J. Benefield
Investigator Stacy Hendrix
Officer Scott Bonner
Fire Chief Jonathan Adams
Assistant Chief Corey Cochran
Assistant Chief Clint Cochran
Park and Recreation Department
PARD director Tammy Perry
Facilities Manager Jon Swafford
Senior Center Director Melissa Yancy