Item Coversheet

EMMET COUNTY - Board of County Commissioners Meeting
March 18, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Resolution Extending Declaration of Local State of Emergency


At its meeting on December 22, 2020, the Emmet County Board of Commissioners adopted a Declaration of a Local State of Emergency in response to the COVI-19 pandemic as well as concerns on the ability of holding public meetings which could put the public at risk. While addressing the larger issue of public health and safety, it also was for purposes of allowance of public meetings to be held through Zoom-type services rather than an in-person.


Subsequent to that meeting, the Legislature approved Public Act 254 of 2020. This Act continued much of the earlier provisions approved by the Legislature in Public Act 228 of 2020, which was a response to the Michigan Supreme Court declaring the Governor’s Executive Orders related to the pandemic as being unconstitutional.


However, PA 254 only extended Zoom-type meetings for any reason prior to March 31, 2021. After March 31, 2021 and through December 31, 2021, the only reason to accommodate the absence of a board member to participate remotely would be for a member on military duty, a medical condition, or a statewide or local state of emergency declared pursuant to law by the governor or local official or governing body. The state of emergency would need to state that there is a risk of personal health or safety of the members of the public or public body if the meeting were held in person.


The Emergency Management Act provides that the Chair of the county Board of Commissioners has the authority to declare a local state of emergency (Declaration of Local State of Emergency) which is valid for 7 days unless a majority of the Board of Commissioners votes to consent to an extension beyond the 7 days. Combining the Declaration of the Board Chair along with the Board’s consent in one document has been used in other municipalities.


Since the prior Board Chair declared a Local State of Emergency in compliance with the Emergency Management Act which was followed by the full Board consenting to the continuation of the Local State of Emergency through March 31, 2021, the Local State of Emergency would end as of 11:59 p.m. on March 31 2021.


The issues of the risk of public health of citizens still remains as most citizens have yet to be vaccinated. Masks are still required to be worn. Venues such as the Board of Commissioners’ Room can only accommodate 25 people based on the most recent Public Health Emergency Order dated March 2, 2021. This Order remains in effect until April 19, 2021. This Order references the continuation of the pandemic and the risk to the public for a public meeting.


Since the Legislature and the Governor have not yet created an extension for Zoom-type meetings for any reason beyond March 31, 2021, Civil Counsel has recommended that the Board Chair again declare a Local State of Emergency for the same reasons stated in the December 22, 2020 Declaration as well as the continuation of pandemic and limitations on public meetings. Upon the Chair declaring the Local State of Emergency, the Board of Commissioners can extend the Declaration of a Local State of Emergency for a reasonable period of time.


Civil Counsel is recommending that the extension by the Board be until June 30, 2021, with the hope at that time that enough vaccines have been administered, the pandemic is under control, and the number of citizens gathering in a meeting is expanded.


The Board also should understand that if the current public health situation improves, the Public Health Orders remove limitations on crowd size in an indoor meeting, or the Legislature makes changes to the Open Meetings Act, the Board could go back to holding public meetings in person at any time. 


Civil Counsel also suggests that the County Clerk provide written notification to local townships, villages, and cities that this new Declaration has occurred to assist them in the planning of their meetings at the local level.



I recommend Board approval as presented.
Michael Reaves, County Administrator


I have reviewed the attached document(s) and approve as to legal form.


I move that the Board consent to the extension of the Chair’s Declaration of a Local State of Emergency made this date through June 30 2021 for the reasons stated in the attached Extension of Emmet County Declaration of a Local State of Emergency and approve the Declaration as written.


VOTE:  Roll Call
Resolution Extending Local Emergency