Here we are on March 23; the past few weeks have been fast-moving and life-changing as we enter new territory globally and right here in Penfield.
We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Town’s primary focus is protection of staff and residents by helping to interrupt the chain of transmission in the community.
What we are doing at the Town:
Facilities/Services - Although Town offices and facilities are temporarily closed, we are maintaining essential staff and services. As always, we will respond to emergencies like fallen trees, highway and sewer issues, and wind, snow, and ice management.
Meetings - We are working closely with county, state and federal leaders and following state of emergency directives. Near term meetings have been cancelled. Future meetings are being decided week to week, but expect them to be cancelled through the next several weeks. When we do resume, remember you can watch and participate remotely through our Penfield TV resources.
Town Staff - Town employees are working remotely, monitoring email and voicemail. They are helping residents manage as best they can over the phone and online; please be patient, we are handling the most urgent matters first.
What can wait:
The due date for 3rd and 4th property tax installments has been extended to April 30 with no penalty. In-person payment of real property taxes at all county and town facilities is prohibited during this State of Emergency. See details at https://www.monroecounty.gov/?q=node/9360
Non-urgent matters. Please email departments (contact info at www.penfield.org) with specific questions and be patient as we triage customer service from our homes.
What you can do:
Report emergencies to 911. If you see any hazards or threats to public safety (like fallen trees or other unsafe conditions) do not call our DPW. Call 911 and they will contact the Town DPW. If you call DPW directly you will get voicemail and the response may not be timely because staff could be deployed to another task.
Submit your Census information online while you are at home practicing social distancing. Why? You will help your community. The federal and state response to COVID-19 is an example of the importance of being counted and being seen. Deployment of resources is influenced by demographics. Be sure to include children in your count, they have historically been under-counted in previous census efforts.
“Ignore the hype, don’t flush a wipe!”
Here's a critical issue we were about to address even before COVID-19, and the behavior has gotten worse in recent weeks--the flushing of wipes and other materials down the toilet. Really? Yes, really. This may seem trivial, but our sanitary sewer system is being strangled by “flushable” wipes. To be clear, ONLY toilet paper is flushable. Wipes clog and strangle pump stations no matter what a product claims to be safe. With all the cleaning and sanitizing during the COVID-19 outbreak this situation has become even worse with people flushing cleaning wipes and paper towels down their toilets. Just because a wipe appears to clear your plumbing does not mean it has cleared the town and county sewers and many pump stations along the way. Our community does not need a completely preventable sewer emergency now or ever. Please do your part and "ignore the hype, don't flush a wipe!" Learn more about the issue:
Lastly, I would like to recognize the efforts of town staff to serve our Penfield community while following directives to keep themselves and their families safe. We will keep the Town-related facts and essential services coming. I am proud of Town employees and their quickness to identify community needs and adapt to new working conditions. They are innovative, committed, and have your back.
I also want to thank all of you in the Penfield community for your patience and support. Please continue to be good to one another. Check on your neighbors (especially seniors) with a simple phone call. Follow directives for social distancing, hand washing, and the like.
Down the road, when it's appropriate, please remember to support our local business community. Some local restaurants have been rapidly innovating; take-out and curbside meal delivery is available around town if you need cooked meals. When we come out the other side of this, our Penfield businesses will need your patronage more than ever -- many of them support us, children's sports leagues, and other community groups all year long. Indeed, strong businesses make a strong community.
Stay home, stop the spread, save lives.
Penfield Supervisor R. Anthony (Tony) LaFountain