Four municipalities in the Upper Perkiomen Valley have declared a Disaster Emergency in response to COVID-19. Upper Hanover, Pennsburg, Red Hill and New Hanover have adopted the designation to protect the health and safety of residents and businesses in each community.
The main reasons for the declaration are to allow municipalities the ability to spend funds in support of the emergency without bidding procedures and to facilitate access to outside emergency aid should any become available through the state or federal government, according to Upper Hanover township Manager Stan Seitzinger, Jr.
Seitzinger and Supervisors Vice Chairman Ben Fiorito signed the township's declaration on March 12. It directs the municipality's emergency management coordinator to alleviate any effects of the disaster and maintain all public utilities. The pandemic threatens to create problems greater in scope than township officials may be able to respond to, according to the language of the document.
In Pennsburg, borough officials approved the declaration at the recommendation of the Office of Emergency Management and Mayor Vicki Lightcap on March 19. Officials are taking the necessary steps to ensure that all resources to mitigate, respond to and help a resident recover from a presumptive case of the coronavirus, though none have been diagnosed in the municipality.
In Red Hill, Mayor David Schiffgens and Council President Doris Decker signed the declaration on March 19. While there are currently no reported presumptive positive cases in the borough, Mike Italia – the municipality's Emergency Management Coordinator – and council have decided that it is important to take all appropriate actions to ensure that procedures are in place to respond to and recover from this health emergency, according to the declaration.
In New Hanover, township Manager Jamie Gwynn and its emergency management coordinator declared a disaster on March 13. The declaration allows township officials to begin mitigation practices to help slow and prevent the spread COVID-19, according to information posted on the municipality's website.