The Montpelier City Council has approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police authorizing the police department to be fully staffed with 17 police officers by July 1.

In August, the Montpelier Police Department said response times to emergency calls would be longer than usual, especially in lower-priority situations, because of under-staffing. At that time, the department was down to 12 officers.

In early June, at a forum about the department’s response to a threat at Montpelier High School, Chief Brian Peete said that while the department was authorized to have 17, “I would be comfortable with anywhere between 19 to 21 officers.”

City Manager Bill Fraser says staffing isn’t the only issue affecting city departments. Fraser said. COVID-19 is affecting city agencies to such an extent that anyone in Montpelier who has to deal wit4h them will likely experience delays.

“It’s kind of blowing through us right now,” Fraser said, noting that both he and Assistant City Manager Kelly Murphy were wearing masks after recent bouts with the virus.

“We are both recovering from COVID,” he said. “As is a huge amount of people in City Hall and people in city employment.”