Council approved emergency declaration Tuesday night

The Yuma City Council approved an order declaring a local emergency in and for the City of Yuma, Tuesday night during its regular meeting at City Hall — just in case.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department then announced Wednesday morning confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Yuma County.

The Yuma Municipal Code (Section 2.08.030) allows for the city council to declare a local emergency under certain circumstances. The the order approved by the council states that the COVID-19 pandemic is a local emergency as defined by the act.
City Manager Scott Moore stressed to the Pioneer that it does not mean Yuma has an emergency at this time. He said it means that with the declaration in place, if quarantine measures do have to be implemented in Yuma, another council meeting does not have to be called to enact the emergency declaration.
The city council is not going to have a meeting for the next three weeks, having canceled its regular meeting on April 7. That cancellation does not have to do with COVID-19, but rather is routinely done when a council meeting falls on the day of a municipal election. Normally, those meetings are rescheduled for the following Thursday. However, it appears there will not be much on the agenda anyway, so the council has canceled that meeting, with the next one set for April 21, at which point the new council will be sworn-in.

The local emergency declaration does activate another section of the municipal code, 2.08.040 (anyone can read the municipal code at the city of Yuma website, It does grant the city manager the authority to approve contracts during the local emergency for up to $100,000, but that the contracts “are reasonably related to the local emergency.” The city manager also is to provide the city council a summary of all contracts approved, including the name of the contractors, the amount of the contract, and the purpose of the contract, on a daily basis.
It also opens the door to closing streets, sidewalks and parks and “to delineate areas within the City wherein an emergency exists.”
It also conceivably could result in the city ordering the closing of business establishments within the city for the period of the emergency. (The state of Colorado already has done this in regards to restaurants, bars and movie theaters.)
All of that and more is in the municipal code, but does not mean it all will be implemented, or that there will ever be a need to activate the emergency.
Also, the declaration is temporary, and would require council’s approval to extend it for a longer duration of time.
Councilman Dan Baucke voiced concerns over some of the language in the code, Tuesday night, but Mayor Ron Swehla said to trust the city manager.