City COVID-Related Service and Program Suspensions To End Monday; Public Can Attend Meetings Again In-Person
July 20, 2021
Mayor Purzycki lifts his emergency COVID directives that have been in place since last year
Mayor Mike Purzycki today rescinded a City-wide State of Emergency Executive Order that had been in place since last March to help the City battle the pandemic. Next Monday, July 26, the City will resume any and all services such as parking enforcement, which had been suspended during the last year. At the same time, the Mayor announced that the public is welcome to attend public meetings within City government facilities, although most meetings are also expected to offer a virtual attendance option for those who are uncomfortable with live meetings.
The following City services and programs, which had been suspended during the pandemic, will be resumed as of Monday, July 26:
• ticketing, booting and towing of vehicles for traffic and parking violations and for delinquent fines and fees;
• neighborhood street cleaning, which will require residents to move their vehicles to accommodate the street cleaning equipment;
• one- and two-hour neighborhood parking restrictions, meaning residents MUST be current on their neighborhood parking stickers;
• water utility service disconnections for delinquencies, which in many cases can be avoided if residents and businesses make a payment arrangement with the City;
• Sheriff Sales;
•public programming at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center on Madison Street resumed on Monday, July 12.
The City Finance Department is still offering a Utility Assistance Program to help low-income residents pay their monthly water/sewer/stormwater bills. Call Wilmington’s Customer Service Office by dialing 311 for more information.
Opening City Government Buildings to the Public for Scheduled Public Meetings
While public access to City government buildings will continue to be limited, members of the public who wish to attend a scheduled public meeting such as a City or County Council session, may do so, even though these meetings may offer virtual attendance for those more comfortable with that option. The City will also keep its satellite departmental offices open in the lobby of the Redding Government Building on French Street, as it has done for most of the past year, so the public can obtain forms, make payments, or meet with a City official through appointment.
The following guidance is offered by the Wilmington Solicitor’s Office to City Departments and to City Council for options available to plan public meetings of City government. Solicitor Robert Goff said recent legislation from the General Assembly that amended the open meeting requirements of the Freedom of Information Act combined with the termination of the
Governor’s State of Emergency on July 13, 2021, has changed the requirements for open
meetings that all boards, commissions, and other public bodies of the City of Wilmington must
follow. Beginning on July 13, 2021, public meetings of any board, commission, or other public
body of the City of Wilmington must occur in one of the following ways:
1. Full In-Person Meetings
As was the practice prior to March 13, 2020, public meetings may be conducted at a
public location within the City of Wilmington with all attendees, including witnesses and
members of the public, appearing in person. 29 Del. C. § 10004. The requirements of closing a
meeting to the public to hold an executive session are unchanged.
2. Full In-Person Meetings with Virtual Public Participation
Public meetings may be conducted at a public location within the City of Wilmington
with all attendees, including witnesses and members of the public, appearing in person. 29 Del.
C. § 10004. In addition, and at the discretion of the presiding officer of the public body,
members of the public can be permitted to monitor the public meeting and/or provide public
comments (if allowed) by electronic means. 29 Del. C. § 10006A. Under this method of
holding a public meeting, virtual attendance or participation by the public at a meeting does not replace the requirement that members of the public be allowed to attend the meeting in person. Id. The availability of this method for holding a public meeting is subject to the technological capabilities of the meeting space, and efforts should be made to ensure that the meeting space is technologically capable prior to sending out the meeting notice. If this method of holding a W0114954.2 public meeting is selected, the meeting notice should contain information regarding how the public can monitor or participate in the meeting. The requirements of closing a meeting to the public to hold an executive session are unchanged.
3. Virtual Meetings with In-Person Anchor Location
Public meetings can continue to be held virtually, as they have since March 13, 2020, but
with several additional requirements. 29 Del. C. § 10006A. The requirements are:
a. The meeting notice must include information regarding how the public can
monitor or participate in the virtual meeting;
b. One or more members of the public body must attend the virtual meeting at a
physical location within the City of Wilmington at which members of the public
can attend in person (a so-called “anchor location”);
c. All members of the public body and witnesses appearing before the public body
must be able, at a minimum, to hear the entirety of the meeting;
d. Documents used during the meeting must be immediately available to members of
the public body and witnesses appearing at the meeting; and
e. Members of the public, including those at the anchor location, must be able to
monitor the public meeting and/or provide public comments (if allowed) by
electronic means. The availability of this method for holding a public meeting is subject to the technological capabilities of the meeting space, and efforts should be made to ensure that the meeting space is technologically capable prior to sending out the meeting notice. The requirements of closing a meeting to the public to hold an executive session are unchanged.