The city of Dundas received more than $118,300 in federal coronavirus relief funding in September, dollars city officials have since put to use in a number of ways.
City Administrator Jenelle Teppen said the funds, distributed to cities based on per-capita basis, are being used to implement unbudgeted programs and systems to reduce the number of people coming to City Hall for face-to-face interactions.
Teppen noted $4,674 was allocated to implement computer/hardware/software technology to facilitate teleworking and virtual meetings during the pandemic. Also, $1,490 of the federal dollars are helping in the purchase of a backend system for online utility bill payments. The city has allocated $9,250 in funding to implement the new city website and is proposing to use nearly $25,900 to install a card reader access door system, a project deemed necessary during the pandemic to reduce touch points. The largest remaining proposed purchase is nearly $51,300 for a Bobcat 5600 small utility vehicle to help sanitize playground equipment and picnic tables.
The CARES Act provides more than $2 trillion in federal economic relief following the onset of the pandemic. All expenditures must be deemed necessary due to the public health emergency, such as costs related to responding directly to the pandemic or incurred through providing economic support to those suffering from unemployment or business interruptions. A section of the legislation established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, providing payments to state, local and tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The state of Minnesota distributed $853 million to cities across the state for COVID-19 response.
Locally, the city of Northfield received $1.53 million in CARES funding. Of that, the council allocated $145,000 to the Northfield Community Action Center for costs related to delivering food to senior citizens and vulnerable adults. The funding allowed for the establishment of a satellite food shelf and mobile distribution site at Northfield Community Education. Also, the council has allocated $120,000 to help make police officers’ work stations meet public health standards; $40,500 to the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative for mobile computer devices and internet technology to accommodate distance learning during the pandemic and to fulfill a number of other necessary uses; and $75,000 for outdoor furnishings and equipment downtown to allow for added physical spacing and small business enhancements.
Faribault has received approximately $1.8 million; Owatonna approximately $1.9 million.