Changes in Services to Reduce COVID-19 Exposure

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This will continue to be updated. Time stamps reflect changes.

Changes in City Services to Reduce COVID-19 Exposure

The City of Helena is committed to providing essential services to the public while also making it a top priority to protect the health and safety of our citizens. The City continues to follow the direction of Lewis & Clark County Health Department, and the State of Montana in relation to the COVID-19 health outbreak. In order to accomplish “social distancing,” City departments with non-essential services and staff are transitioning to working remotely. Department hours may be affected, in-person services are impacted, or services may be modified to ensure the health and safety of the public and staff. The delivery of in-person services will be reevaluated on Tuesday, March 31 and will be based on COVID-19 trends and CDC guidelines.

Please see the following modifications each department is taking:

CAPITAL TRANSIT – EAST VALLEY BUS SERVICE - UPDATED 3/30

  • Starting Wednesday April 1, 2020, the East Valley Route will be suspended until further notice.
  • The red and blue fixed route bus service remains closed until further notice.
  • Paratransit bus services continue to run as normal. Operations are evaluated daily to prioritize the health and safety of passengers and staff. 

UTILITY CUSTOMER SERVICE - UPDATED 3/29

     In-person services for payment or licensing is closed until further notice. 

    • Utility payments (water bills) will continue to be accepted and processed from the drop box locations, via telephone and online.
    • Phone payments may be made from 8 a.m.-12  p.m. Please call (406) 447-8450. 
    • For online payments, visit HelenaMT.gov/services 
    • Drop box locations:
      •  City County Building (at the end of the Utility Customer Services Division counter)
      • Van's Thriftway (on the wall outside the West side entrance, above the mailbox)
      • Across from the Base Camp on Broadway (Located with the mailboxes, FedEx boxes, etc.)
      • Albertons on North Montana Ave. (outside on the wall by the mailbox)
    •  The City will continue to work with patrons experiencing trouble paying water bills. Individual water meters will continue to record water usage and utility bills will continue to be generated and delivered to our customers. However, at this time, water will not be shut off for lack of payment.

    For questions regarding water billing, please call (406) 447-8450.  

    MUNICIPAL COURT - UPDATED 3/29

    The City of Helena Municipal Court will remain open and will continue to function in an orderly manner, however residents may experience delays and decreased services. 

    • Municipal Court will no longer accept walk-ins for in-person filings and payment of fines; however, Municipal Court staff members are still working.

    • Filings: The five-day hard copy rule is waived until May 1, 2020. Filings can be emailed to HelenaMunicipalCourt@helenamt.gov or mailed to 228 Broadway, Rm 105, Helena MT 59601

    • Payments: 

      • Option 1.  Pay through the online Cite-Pay system: https://www.citepayusa.com/payments/welcome.do?state=MT 

      • Option 2.  Call in payment, (406) 447-8466 ext 1. 

      • Option 3.  Mail in check or money order, Attn: Helena Municipal Court - 228 Broadway, Rm 105, Helena, MT 59601

      • Option 3.  Call the court to extend your payment date, (406) 447-8466 ext 1.

    • Open Court: There will be no 10:00 AM appearances from March 30 – April 10, 2020. Appearances will resume on April 13, 2020, subject to change. 

    • Scheduled Hearings: All in person hearings between March 30 and April 10, 2020 will be continued.New notices will be sent via mail. If you are represented by counsel, please contact your attorney as soon as possible to verify your court dates. This includes Omnibus hearings set for April 1 and April 8. 

    • Temporary Orders of Protection: The court is open to receive orders; you must call and notify the Court and staff will give further instruction, (406)-447-8466 ext 1. Served orders must appear.  Date and time stated on court papers.  

    • Forms:  Petition for Temporary Orders of Protection can be found on the City website.  Please call or email the court to request a form. 
      Phone: (406) 447-8466 ext 1 
      Email:  HelenaMunicipalCourt@helenamt.gov

    • Telephone: The court will be answering phone calls from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. 

    • Jail Arraignments: Held via video conference Monday – Friday, at 8:00 am.  The court will not be allowing walk-in viewing during this time. New hours are in place until April 15, 2020.

    PARKS, RECREATION & OPEN LANDS - UPDATED 3/27

    Bill Roberts Golf Course

    •  Bill Roberts Golf Course is closed effective March 27 at 4 p.m. until April 10.

    Civic Center

    • All events at the Civic Center are postponed until further notice. The facility is closed to the public until April 10.
    • Civic Center policy allows clients to reschedule or cancel their event without penalty. Staff will continue to work with each event to find a plan of action that works for them. Contact staff at 406-447-8481. 

    Parks and Open Lands

    • Helena’s City Parks remain open.
    • Playground equipment is closed.
    • Park patrons should maintain proper 6-foot distancing and refrain from gathering or recreating in groups.  
    • Some restroom facilities are open, however these facilities will be evaluated on a regular basis for potential closure based on public health guidance.   
    • Please avoid using restroom and garbage facilities and garbage facilities as much as possible to reduce exposure to staff and others.

    Administrative Office

    Parks has suspended in-person services until further notice. The following resources are available for reservations or programs:

    • If you need to make park reservations, please email Jennifer Schade at jschade@helenamt.gov.
    • If you need to speak with Kait Perridon, please email kperrodin@helenamt.gov.
    • If you need to speak to the Parks Director please call Kristi Ponozzo: 406-594-3832. 

    PUBLIC WORKS - UPDATED 3/23

    Lewis and Clark County Landfill

    • Operations will remain open for account holders six days per week, Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:00 pm and Saturday 8 am-12:00 pm.
    • Pay-as-you-throw services will be suspended until further notice. Disposal options are available at the City of Helena Transfer Station.
    • No cash payments will be accepted. Please call 406-447-8037 to make a payment over the phone (processing fee will apply), or mail check payments to:

                                                                Lewis & Clark County Public Works Dept.

                                                                3402 Cooney Dr.

                                                                Helena, MT 59602

    City of Helena Transfer Station

    • Operations will move to six days per week, Monday-Saturday, 8 am-4:30 pm.
    • It will be closed on Sunday’s, beginning March 29.
    • Tipping floor attendants will no longer help customers unload any type of material.
    • Route collection and recycling will continue six days per week, Monday-Saturday.
    • A portable ADA accessible restroom will be placed for the public to use.
    • Permit issuance for new construction/sales will be suspended until further notice. The scale will attempt to get addresses of those customers without a permit.
    • People with lost or misplaced permit holders can call 406-447-8086.
    • No cash will be accepted for payment on Solid Waste statements and invoices. Please call 406-447-8086 to make a payment over the phone, or mail check payments to:

    City of Helena

    Attn: Transfer Station

    316 N. Park Ave.

    Helena, MT 59623

    The delivery of in-person services will be reevaluated on Tuesday, March 31 and will be based on COVID-19 trends and CDC guidelines.

    Public Works - Engineering

    City Engineers are working remotely to ensure the progression of scheduled projects. The following individuals can assist with Public Works engineering projects:

    HELENA POLICE DEPARTMENT

    In response to the COVID-19 virus and the effects it is having on our community, the Helena Police Department will be implementing changes on how we respond to some types of incidents

    Effective immediately officers will be determining which calls require an officer to respond in person and have direct contact with the complainant. If it is determined that an officer does not need to respond to the scene, an officer will contact the caller and gather the needed information over the phone. Officers will still respond to crimes in progress, accidents, crimes of violence, and others that require an in person response. Officers or dispatch may request a caller meet with the officer outside of the residence.

    Also effective immediately we are suspending enforcement of the city ordinance on abandoned vehicles. With more people working from home and self-isolating, vehicles are remaining parked longer than the 72 hours listed in the abandoned vehicle ordinance. We do not want to burden folks already stressed by the COVID-19 situation to have to move their vehicles to avoid being cited. Once Lewis and Clark County Public Health recommends that the residents of Helena return to their normal day to day activities, we will resume the enforcement of the ordinance. Other parking ordinances not related to abandoned vehicle and downtown parking will continue to be enforced.

    Effective Tuesday March 23, 2020, until further notice walk up service at the records window in the Law and Justice Center will be suspended. Citizens that need to registered as Sexual or Violent Offenders, need DNA taken as a requirement of a court judgement, are requesting police or sheriff department records, or need to contact our records section are requested to call 447-8469. Folks that are unaware of the restriction will be able to call from the lobby of the law and justice center.

    COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

    Building Divison

    All business will be handled electronically or by phone for the health and safety of our staff and the public. The City Building Division Office will be closed to the public beginning at 12:00 p.m. March 19th until further notice.

    • All correspondence is being handled electronically. Please email plans, applications, or documents to one of the contacts noted below.
    • Payments may only be made by credit card or debit card over the phone. Checks and cash will not be accepted.
    • The process for requesting inspection will remain the same. General Contractor shall call the Building Division to schedule inspections. City Inspectors will continue to do inspections as timely as possible.
    • Review of plans will continue as timely as possible.
    • If you have any questions, feel free to call 447-8438 or 447-8437. Email documents to tdupree@helenamt.gov and rrowsey@helenamt.gov

    Planning Division

    The City Planning Division is working remotely with limited hours in the  office. Most business will be conducted electronically, but there is availability for appointments to drop-off plats and applications.

    Please visit our website for more information regarding new remote processes and updates from the Department. For general questions, please call (406) 447-8490 and leave a detailed voicemail or e-mail citycommunitydevelopment@helenamt.gov. You may also contact the assigned Planner via work phone or work email for ongoing projects

    For questions regarding variances, conditional use permits or zoning, please contact:

    • Zoning Officer at htaylor@helenamt.gov or call 406-447-8448
    • For questions regarding Minor or Major subdivisions and boundary line adjustments, please contact lgengler@helenamt.gov or call 406-447-8459
    • For questions regarding annexation or the Growth Policy, please contact mmcconnell@helenamt.gov or call 406-447-8492
    • For questions  regarding Grants or ADA compliance please contact eray@helenamt.gov or call 406-447-8491
    • For additional information or questions concerning  any of the above please contact shaugen@helenamt.gov or 406-447-8445 or 406-459-4860.

    You can access all our forms, applications and other  planning information at www.helenamt.gov/government/departments/community-development

    PARKING ENFORCEMENT - UPDATED 3/20

    The City of Helena is suspending parking enforcement in downtown Helena through Tuesday, March 31. In addition to this, the Parking Office is temporarily closed to in-person service starting Monday, March 23 through Tuesday, March 31. At that time, the Parking Division will reevaluate whether to reinstate operations or not based on COVID-19 trends and government recommendations. Questions regarding parking tickets or permits, please contact the parking office at 447-8419.

     


    For the latest news or changes in City services, please continue to follow “Community Headlines” at HelenaMT.gov.


     

     

     

     

     

    Graphic: Public Service Announcement