City operating with access restricted
March 20, 2020
This week's Cloquet city council meeting laid out a new world order, before even a word was said.
Councilors sat one or two chairs apart, with two attending via conference call to make space for social distancing (the recommended 6 feet between individuals). More than half the chairs for audience members had been removed, to make sure no one sat too close to one another.
By the end of the meeting, the council implemented even more changes to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Effective Wednesday, all city-run buildings in Cloquet were closed to the public.
City staff will continue to work and provide essential community services, but public access to its buildings was suspended beginning March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following a unanimous vote by the Cloquet City Council Tuesday night. That includes City Hall, the Cloquet Police Department, the Cloquet Public Library, Public Works, the Senior Center (except for food pickup) and even Northwoods Credit Union Arena.
Council meetings will still be open to the public, but the city is encouraging councilors to call in rather than attend in person. Residents can attend, but they are also encouraged to watch the meetings on the city's website as they are happening, or later.
City staff will still be available by phone and email, and water, sewer and other payments can be made by mail and internet. Some appointments can be scheduled. A complete staff list is available at http://www.cloquetmn.gov. Otherwise, call 218-879-3347 or email [email protected] for information.
Residents can still check out library materials. Staff will continue to monitor the customer service phone (218-879-1531) and email ([email protected]). Patrons can contact the library with questions or to request library books, movies or other materials. Items will be checked out to patrons and placed in the lobby for pickup within one hour of a request. Patrons are asked to return all borrowed materials in the outdoor book drop. Fines for overdue and lost books will be waived until further notice. Check out the library website at http://www.cloquetlibrary.org for the online catalog, lists of ebooks and audio magazines, homework help, research materials, career resources, genealogy and more.
The Cloquet Police Department will continue patrolling and response to emergency and 911 calls for service. Lower-level offenses that don't necessitate an officer response will be handled via telephone or online. Non-emergency calls for service to 218-384-4185 will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Call 218-879-1247 to schedule an appointment for permits and other services. There is a phone to contact dispatch in the entryway on the parking lot side of the City Hall/Police Department building at 101 14th Street.
Find more detailed information on police changes on page 17 of this week's Pine Knot News.
The engineering, utilities, streets and parks departments will continue typical maintenance and operations tasks, but most scheduled customer site visits will be suspended. Staff will continue to respond to emergency situations such as sewer backups and water leaks. Report any issues to 218-879-6758 during normal business hours. After hours, report emergencies to the public works dispatcher at 218-624-0391. During the pandemic, the city will suspend disconnections for residential customers. No camping reservations will be taken, and current reservations will be canceled and refunded.
The finance department will continue processing all payments via mail, drop box located at US Bank Frontage Road, or online (utility bills only) at http://www.cloquetmn.gov. There is also a drop box in the parking lot entryway at City Hall. Call 1-877-885-7968 to make a utility payment by phone. Those who normally pay by cash are asked to pay by money order or through Walmart customer service payment center (extra fee applies). Call 218-879-3844 with utility bill questions, and 218-879-3347 with all other questions.
Permits and licenses
The city will continue to process all types of permit and license applications submitted online, by fax or by email, including but not limited to building permits, mechanical permits, plumbing permits, inspections, zoning applications, rental complaints and more. Find information at http://www.cloquetmn.gov or call 218-879-3347. For building permit and inspection questions, contact Matt Munter at 218-879-2507, ext. 2. For zoning questions, contact Al Cottingham at 218-879-2507, ext. 3.
For information on economic development programs, properties and applications, go online at http://www.cloqueteda.com or direct questions to Community Development Director Holly Hansen at 218-879-2507, ext. 4 or via email at [email protected]