Lake Shore: City may use coronavirus funds to modify city hall, buy laptops
The city will look into using its $80,388 toward laptops for council members and staff, and building modifications to make city hall more secure and safer. A plan outlines possible renovations to the east city hall entrance, public works office and city clerk office.
Lake Shore will look into spending the $80,388 in coronavirus relief funds the city received on technology and city hall renovations.
In an online Zoom meeting Wednesday morning, Aug. 12, City Administrator Teri Hastings told the council the city must spend the funds by Nov. 15, and there are criteria to follow. Whatever funds the city doesn’t spend would go to Cass County, which received $3.69 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. Whatever funds Cass County doesn’t use would go to the state.
Council consensus was to look into using the money toward laptops for council members and staff, and building modifications to make city hall more secure and safer. A plan outlines possible renovations to the east city hall entrance, public works office and city clerk office.
The question is whether building modifications could be finished by Nov. 15.
The three main criteria are that the relief funds:
Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date the CARES Act was enacted).
Were incurred since March 1, 2020.
Hastings said so far Lake Shore has spent approximately $1,400, mostly on personal protective equipment, publication requirements since using the online Zoom platform for meetings, Plexiglas, and Zoom and teleconference costs.
The funds cannot be used to replace revenue, such as revenue lost to reduced liquor license fees for establishments that had to be closed. Funds can be used for PPE, cleaning and sanitizing, staffing, unemployment, wages/payroll, technology upgrades, city services, buildings, city-owned enterprises, elections, community grants and assistance, Hastings said.
She listed the following possible projects:
PPE equipment for future use.
Audiovisual/technology, including laptops and equipment at city hall to facilitate remote meetings.
Building modifications to allow for a more permanent social distancing atmosphere at city hall. \u0009
Ehlers consultant proposal on a long-term financial management plan and sewer rate study for an estimated $10,500.
Broadband by providing equipment for families to allow telework and distance learning.
The city has been working to determine how to provide broadband to underserved areas; however, doesn’t think the coronavirus relief funding would work toward that because of the timeframe in which the funds have to be used. An update on coronavirus relief fund projects will be shared at a budget workshop tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.