Organized by the Borough of Chambersburg, as of Tuesday, March 24, ten Chambersburg Area Churches have stepped forward to offer food supplies to any families that might become homebound because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Borough has had a Pandemic Response plan in place for about 10 years now,” said Assistant Borough Manager David Finch, who acts as Emergency Management Coordinator during local emergencies. “One very important aspect of the plan was to prepare for citizens who become too sick to feed themselves or care for their families. We will coordinate with local churches to provide the food they might need.”
Requests for aid may be routed to Mr. Finch, at (717) 660-2702. In other planning, the Borough is releasing a mailing to all 11,000 utility customers explaining their options for contacting the Borough during the health emergency. Chambersburg prohibited access to municipal buildings and facilities effective Monday, March 23, 2020.
According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, “for convenience and safety, we encourage the use of alternative methods of payment and communication to avoid physical in-person utility transactions whenever possible. If you must make a payment by cash or check, please use the U.S. Mail (please do not mail cash), or use the Borough’s secure drop-box located to the right of the rear lobby entrance. If you would like a receipt, please include a note with your payment and one will be mailed to you. Billing communication, questions, or discussion is best via phone at (717) 264-5151, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , which is for billing inquiries.” Stonehill added that he anticipates delays as customers attempt to use the single Drive-Thru Teller Window at City Hall.
In an attempt to encourage social distancing, the Borough will suspend house-to-house meter reading on a temporary basis. As a result, utility bills sent in April 2020 will be “estimated” based on an account’s historic usage. A reconciliation of “estimated” to “actual” usage will happen at the end of the crisis; or, when a customer closes out their utility account. This will lessen the need for Borough employees to read meters.
On Monday, March 23, Chambersburg installed digital information signs at the entrances to the town. According to Stonehill, the Borough added the signs so that “we have another means to disseminate public information. At this time, we still are unsure whether Governor Wolf will order stricter restrictions. We want to keep in touch with citizens and businesses and provide them with good information. The digital signs are another way to communicate.”
Finally, Deputy Borough Manager Phil Wolgemuth is coordinating with food service retailers on enforcement of the restriction on eat-in dining establishments. According to Mr. Wolgemuth, “most licensees have been very cooperative, adjusting their business practices, and complying with the directions issued by the Governor. We know that these are challenging times for our community’s small businesses, and we want to thank Sam Thrush and Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., for getting information out there as to how to support our local businesses.” The Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., website is www.downtownchambersburgpa.com . “Chambersburg is proud to protect the health and safety of our residents and businesses,” added Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill. “When Town Council gathers next, they will discuss our temporary actions to address this crisis and whether more actions are available for their approval. We stand by to support our residents and businesses during this difficult time.”