By Jessica Mathews /

Just to be on the safe side, Hamburg Township has adopted a resolution allowing the board and other bodies to meet remotely through the end of the year.

The board held a special meeting Monday and adopted a resolution declaring a State of Emergency or SOE through December 31st. A state order allowing bodies to meet electronically amid the pandemic expires today. In order to continue doing so, municipalities need to adopt individual resolutions. An umbrella declaration from the Livingston County Board of Commissioners was passed last week but then rescinded during a meeting Monday night.

While municipalities can elect to meet in-person, separate state orders still limit gatherings to no more than 25 people in a room. Should more people show up, Supervisor Pat Hohl commented then they basically get caught in a trick bag and would then have to either accommodate or cancel the meeting. He said extending the declaration through the end of the year ensures the township is covered and they don’t have to keep adopting resolutions. With case numbers going up, he said they don’t have assurances and the state might tighten things up again so this way they’ll be able to conduct business in a virtual manner if necessary and make sure residents can participate in meetings. However, Hohl emphasized that doesn’t mean they’ll be strictly virtual and the board intends to conduct meetings in person unless they have reason to believe there would be more than 25 participants at meetings.

Hohl said while he might not agree with things, he’s just trying to “keep the train on the tracks”. He noted that the decision is being left up to the locals and he has no reserve or concern that they need to do this if they’re going to operate efficiently and effectively and allow residents to have input at meetings. He noted that some comments have been made about having the board meet in the parking lot or hooking up a television in another room but this is easy, clean, and simple.

Trustee Chuck Menzies also noted numbers going up and said he didn’t see why it would hurt to extend it for a while.

Treasurer Jason Negri was the lone member opposed, commenting that he appreciated the flexibility the resolution provided but called it a compromise to an untenable situation and said he didn’t agree with declaring an SOE when there isn’t any threat.

The board at any time has the ability to terminate or extend the declaration.