City closing all public facilities in response to coronavirus
Payments may continue through various means; senior meals to continue
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (March 30, 2020) — To maintain employee health and help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally, the City of Arkansas City will close City Hall to the public starting March 23.
This closure will be through at least April 19 and will be re-evaluated in late April based on recommendations from the State of Kansas.
The City will strive to disrupt services as little as possible during this time through a variety of measures, including telephones; video conferences; and online, drive-through and drop-off methods (see below for more details).
There may be some scheduling of appointments for any services that require in-person contact.
“This additional measure is to help protect the health and safety of critical office employees who still need to report to work,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.
“They will continue to answer phones and provide services. We are sorry for any inconvenience this closure may cause and hope it is temporary.”
Arkansas City Municipal Court has already been suspended through at least April 7. Critical services such as Fire-EMS, police, sanitation, water, wastewater and other services will continue uninterrupted.
All other City facilities, including the following, will remain closed to the public indefinitely:
- Agri-Business Building, located at 712 W. Washington Ave.;
- Arkansas City Public Library, located at 120 E. Fifth Ave.;
- Cleo Graves Memorial Hogan, located in Ranney Park at 326 E. Poplar Ave.;
- Northwest Community Center, located at 615 W. Birch Ave.;
- Senior Citizens Center, located at 320 South A St.;
- Recycling trailers located at Arkansas City Middle School, Cowley College and Spring Hill Golf Course (recycling will resume in a modified fashion on June 1).
No City parks are being closed at this time, but the City encourages all citizens to follow all health recommendations, including safe social distancing methods, and to refrain from using parks or trails if they are sick.
The status of City parks may be re-evaluated if any positive COVID-19 cases are reported in Cowley County.
“These closures are to protect the most vulnerable members of our community and preserve access to key backup facilities in the case of an emergency shelter need,” Hernandez said.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause and hope these closures are temporary.”
Below are the City departments and divisions that operate out of City Hall, the contact information for those departments, and a description of how the City will continue to serve the public in a manner that minimizes citizens’ risk of exposure and increases our ability to deliver services over the coming weeks:
Customer service, Municipal Court payments and utility billing
For those residents who wish to pay by credit or debit card, the following services are available:
- Visit www.arkcity.org and click on “Online Payments” under the main photo or, in the top navigation bar, hover over “I Want To…” and then “Pay,” then click “Utility Bill.”
- Access the City of Arkansas City’s online utility payment system directly at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/arkansascityks.
- Call 441-4401 or 441-4402 to talk to a customer service specialist and pay by telephone (this option only available during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).
For those residents who wish to pay by check, the following services are available:
- Mail payments to City Hall, P.O. Box 778, 118 W. Central Ave., Arkansas City, KS 67005.
- Use the utility dropbox located in the alley east of City Hall to drop off your payment.
- Use the City of Arkansas City dropbox located at the Dillons customer service counter.
For those residents who wish to pay with cash, the following service is available:
Neighborhood Services Division
Building permits, code enforcement, planning and zoning
For building permits, inspections and dropping off plans, all services will be by appointment. Please first call 441-4420. You may also email email@example.com. Neighborhood Services Division staff then will coordinate with citizens or contractors directly on how to best serve them.
Much Neighborhood Services Division information and resources also are accessible on the City’s website here.
City Manager Department
City clerk/municipal court, human resources, city manager, PIO
Services provided to the public out of the Human Resources Division, including job listings, are available on the City’s website here. For questions or to schedule an appointment with HR, call 441-4406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most applications and open government forms are available on the City’s website here. For Municipal Court-related questions or to schedule an appointment, please call 441-4408 or email email@example.com.
Senior Citizens Center closure
The Seniors Citizens Center will be closed indefinitely to the public, but the senior Meals on Wheels program through Aging Projects, Inc. will continue, with certain modifications to ensure maximum public safety.
Carryout of meals will be available curbside at the Senior Center. Meal delivery will continue to currently enrolled addresses.
“These measures are intended to minimize the risk of infection to the maximum extent possible,” Hernandez said. “Our senior citizens are our most vulnerable residents and we want to take all available precautions to protect them from COVID-19 while still providing this greatly needed meal program.”
Hogan and NWCC closures
Both the Hogan and the Northwest Community Center will be unavailable for rental indefinitely.
“Due to other critical staffing needs, the City is not equipped to provide the necessary sanitization procedures that would be required to maintain these as rentable facilities during this outbreak period,” Hernandez said. “Refunds will be provided to all parties with canceled reservations at either facility.”
The Thursday night outreach program at NWCC also will be suspended indefinitely. “Again, we apologize for any inconvenience,” Hernandez said.
Agri-Business Building closure
The Agri-Business Building also will be unavailable for rental indefinitely during this outbreak period.
As with the other two facilities, full refunds will be offered to any party with a canceled reservation.
Athletic uses, such as tennis practice, also will be canceled indefinitely at the Agri-Business Building.
In addition to the disinfection challenges, the Ag Building is identified in Cowley County’s emergency operations plan as a potential shelter in the event of an emergency and must be kept available for such.
Including City Hall, all City facilities housing City personnel will be off-limits to the public indefinitely, except for exceptional circumstances.
This restriction includes the Bryant Shop, Central Shop, Fire-EMS Department, Parks Shop, Police Department, Water Treatment Facility and Wastewater Treatment Plant.