City proposes to use CARES Act funds for facilities upgrades, community assistance

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The Fernley City Council is proposing to use about $3.9 million in CARES Act funding for safety upgrades to City Hall and other city facilities, to help local businesses and provide money for community assistance.

The Council on July 1 approved a plan to be submitted to the state for the use of its funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The plan includes upgrades to City Hall to allow for social distancing requirements for city council meetings, employees and customers and for parks and other city facilities. It also includes funding for community assistance with rent, mortgage or utility bills, to assist small businesses and to help the North Lyon County Fire District purchase a new ambulance, with all money left over to be donated to the food bank.

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The proposal must be submitted to the state for approval, then the council must approval a final budget for the funds.

Funds from the CARES Act can only be used for costs that are directly related to the public health emergency, not for costs budgeted before the pandemic.

The money must be used for costs incurred between March 1 and Dec. 20 this year, and must be spend by Dec. 30.

The distribution of funds is based on the federal guidance for local governments with a population of less than 500,000, which for Nevada includes all counties and incorporated cities outside of Clark County and the City of Las Vegas. Nevada used a per capita allocation formula to calculate the amount of funds each local government would receive. A total of $148 million will be distributed throughout the State. The City of Fernley will receive $3,921,960.

These funds must specifically be used to cover costs that fall within one of three categories: necessary expenses incurred due to the public health emergency, costs not accounted for in the local government’s most recently approved budget as of March 27, 2020, and costs incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020.

“It can’t be used to pay for something already budgeted or used to make up for lost revenue,” City Manager Daphne Hooper said. “It has to be COVID related.”

The items in the proposal to be submitted to the state are:

City Council Chambers Remodel ($500,000)

Chambers will be upgraded to ensure social distancing requirements can be met and include Municipal Court upgrades for social distancing requirements including a jury box for domestic violence cases.

Technology upgrades ($1,000,000)

Audio/visual upgrades and remote access for social distancing and necessary improvements for system upgrades, hardware, and software needed in City Council chambers, Court, all conference rooms and remote needs for staff.

Glass enclosure for City Hall lobby ($500,000)

Safety glass will be installed in the front, which will include counter upgrades and necessary rewiring and door installations.

City Hall fencing ($400,000)

Fencing will be installed for employee parking to ensure authorized personnel have access to City Hall.

City Hall cleaning ($18,000)

One-time deep cleaning and weekly cleaning of City Hall through December 2020,

Parks restroom upgrades ($100,000)

All restrooms to include stainless steel fixtures for easy cleaning and ensure the safety of residents.

Playground equipment cleaning ($10,000)

Deep cleaning of all playground equipment.

Automatic flush toilets installed in City Hall ($4,000)

All toilets will have autoflush to ensure safety in public restrooms.

Automatic doors at City Hall ($50,000)

Doors will open automatically for public access to limit touch to door handles.

Cubicles/separation for employees at City Hall ($300,000)

Cubicles will be installed with clear walls to help with social distancing standards and ensure workspace separation for staff within City Hall.

Readerboard update ($20,000)

The readerboard with be upgraded to ensure information can be distributed to the public regarding safety needs.

Security cameras ($25,000)

Cameras will be installed inside and outside of City facilities to ensure safety.

PPE/cleaning supplies ($20,000)

Products will be purchased to ensure facilities and employees are protected.

Paperless accounts payable system ($75,000)

To aid in contactless financial transactions, a paperless accounts payable system will be purchased.

Small business grants ($250,000)

Funding to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Costs already incurred and ongoing ($45,000)

Staff time/benefits and all installations and costs of equipment purchased as of May.

Funding for community assistance ($250,000)

Funding provided to Human Services to assist with rent/mortgage and utility bills to community members affected by COVID-19.

Ambulance ($250,000)

NLCFPD needs an additional ambulance due to the increased calls in response to COVID-19.

Contingency ($104,960)

Some items may cost more than projected, others may cost less. Any money left over will be donated to the food bank.

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