FRANKLIN — Closing city hall and the city recreation centers are part of Mayor Eugene Foulcard’s mitigation plan to protect the citizens of Franklin from coronavirus.

The mayor briefed the council on his plans for the city Tuesday night in front of a handful of employees and the media, as he has closed city hall and other city facilities to the public.

“Due to the deafening discourse, the nature and rapid spread of COVID-19, I recommend that each and every citizen in Franklin follow local, federal and state mandates,” Foulcard said.

“Those include limiting gatherings up to 50 people or less. I recommend that you also patronize our restaurants that offer to-go services, since the governor has closed sitting areas in restaurants, as well as in bars.”

Foulcard also closed the Broussard-Harris Recreation Center and City Park Recreation Center.

“We know children are not in school — and this is unfortunate; however, this is an effort to stop the spread of the virus from household to household, as we try to protect our citizens from any exposure,” Foulcard said.

He said water service cut-off is suspended for the next two billing cycles. Customers are still responsible for their bills and are encouraged to keep up with their balances to avoid future financial burden and loss of service when operations return to normal.

“However, I want to thank our customers who have continue to pay their bills,” he said.

Payments for water bills and taxes can be collected through the drop box at City Hall or by credit card over the telephone. A receipt can be mailed to you upon request.

Also, to make a payment or inquiry by phone, customers can call 828-6313 or 828-6312.

Property tax payers can pay by phone by calling 828-6313 or 828-6310.

The city will accept permit payments through the drop box located at the front entrance to city hall. Applications for permits can be made by phone or email at 828-6303 or permittech@franklin-la.com.

“In another area, to my knowledge, our health facilities have taken the necessary precautions to protect their employees and patients from contamination,” the mayor said.

All city departments will continue normal business operations while the directives are in place. The mayor said he hopes this will quickly be resolved and our lives can get back to normal.

“Please check on the elderly and more at risk neighbors that may be in need of basic items. And, please wash your hands as much as possible.”

The mayor also announced postponements of the city’s black history program, scheduled for March 21; an evening with the Buffalo Soldiers on March 28; and the Black Bear and Wooden Boat Festival scheduled for mid-April.

“Any time during any crisis, opportunities are provided that will test our moral fiber. Such is the case now; as Americans, we know that this is not the first time we have had to live through a crisis,” Foulcard said, citing examples of the Civil War, World War II, the Great Depression, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Jim Crow and Civil Rights Movements, and the gasoline rationing of the 1970s.

“As Louisianians we’ve lived through the Great Flood of 1927, the Yellow Fever Plague and various hurricanes. While this pandemic is much larger than those I’ve cited, I have no doubt as citizens that we will have the perseverance to see through this present crisis.”

The mayor said the city can have panic and fear that will pull it apart, or hearts and compassion that will pull it more together than ever.

“Join me in praying Psalms 3, verses 5 and 6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thine own understanding.’ God Bless our nation and our state.”

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