March 21 Update From Mayor Scott Phillips “Help me help OB”
Help me help OB.
These are certainly challenging times in our hometown. I want to provide you with an update on what the City has done and is doing to continue to provide essential public services.
The City remains fully operational. Full-time fire, police, water, sewer, gas, and street employees remain on-duty and ready to provide emergency and routine public service. All other departments of the City are staffed at essential levels and remain available to serve the public. Our administrative support team remains at work to support our employees who are in the field. While our offices are closed to public access, there are drop boxes, a drive-through window, and online options for interacting with the City. See our other Facebook posts for more information, or call 662-892-9200. The City’s business is to serve you, and we are open for business.
You may read or hear that the City of Olive Branch has declared a “local emergency.” That is accurate, but no need for alarm. A local emergency under state law is, in part, simply an administrative tool that makes the City potentially eligible for certain state or federal reimbursement after the current events are over. The local emergency can provide the City some purchasing flexibility in how commodities and equipment are acquired. If needed, the emergency declaration allows the City to render aid outside the City, and to take steps to protect private property from loss or destruction. This is the same type of “emergency” that the City declared after the recent tornados. The purpose of the emergency is to help the City respond and serve efficiently. Please do not spread rumors that the “local emergency” is anything other than what is described here.
I have been asked questions by interested parties, on both sides of an issue, of critical importance to all of us – the forced closure of businesses and other places of public gathering. This is not an issue I take lightly. On one hand, we must recognize the danger inherent in not following the recommended guidelines for social distancing and limiting public interaction. On the other hand, our town’s places of business provide needed supplies and critical income for owners and employees. The closure of businesses would create a far-reaching financial strain on our whole community. You have read reports of other local governments taking extreme measures to limit the public movement and gathering of people. That may become necessary in Olive Branch at some point, but for now, my preference is to plead with you for your cooperation. See the Mississippi Department of Health’s March 20, 2020 update
Please help me help OB, by doing the following:
– Stay home, unless you need essential supplies such as food, medicine, gasoline, medical care, or need to report to work.
– To the extent, our restaurants remain open, use drive-thru, home, or curbside delivery only.
– Inform yourself of the most current CDC recommendations, and follow them.
– Help me keep OB open as long as is safely possible, by acting responsibly.
There may come a point during this health crisis where I, and the Board of Aldermen, have to consider measures such as those implemented in other nearby cities. That decision may eventually be made at the state or federal level. If we voluntarily do what is right, we may be able to limit the spread of the virus without such action being necessary.
Help me help OB. Stay safe, take care, and God bless.
Scott B. Phillips, Jr.