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Dalton Gardens ends COVID state of emergency

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | December 2, 2020 1:00 AM

The Dalton Gardens city council voted to terminate its state of emergency originally declared in the wake of the coronavirus.

The council met Tuesday night to end the eight-month-old declaration made at the onset of the pandemic that has gone on to claim nearly 277,000 American lives. It’s a pandemic that is by no means finished, as Panhandle Health District reported an additional 225 new cases Tuesday alongside a record 80 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations in the five northern-most counties’ health care facilities.

Caitlin Kling, attorney for Dalton Gardens, said one of the key reasons for enacting the original declaration was to give the city both procedural and financial flexibility.

“One of the questions we had was in regard to CARES Act funding,” she told the council. “(An emergency declaration) is not a requirement of the CARES Act...But one of the positives is some flexibility in some meeting times, or if we need to do it all by Zoom. For a while in the spring, we did everything remote.”

But city officials cited that Dalton Gardens is covered under both Kootenai County’s emergency conditions, Gov. Brad Little’s declaration and federal disaster declarations.

Tuesday night’s measure to terminate the state of emergency passed 3 - 1, with only council member Aaron O’Brien voting in dissent.

“I want the record to reflect,” O’Brien said, “that I am 100 percent against this.”