Governing body approves local state of emergency for Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka's governing body approved a local state of emergency declaration at a special meeting Thursday night.

The vote was unanimous.

City officials say the declaration is in keeping with the Shawnee Co. Emergency Management Plan. The plan sets out a chain of command for government operations and meeting residents' needs.

With the action, the city will be able to more efficiently share resources with partners in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows the city to later apply for money from FEMA.

The declaration will remain in effect until the governing body takes action, or until Shawnee County's disaster emergency expires.

The public was not allowed inside council chambers for Thursday's meeting, due to safety mandates in place because of the COVID-19 situation. The meeting was televised on the city's public access channel, and streamed on their Facebook page.

An earlier version of this article stated the declaration temporarily allows City Manager Brent Trout to make decisions related to city operations as the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve. This was part of the document as originally proposed, but council members made an amendment to remove this language.