Sammamish, WA, September 14, 2020
The City of Sammamish is eligible to receive $1.9 million from the State of Washington’s allocation of federal CARES Act funding. This is part of nearly $300 million that will be awarded from the State to local governments that did not receive direct distributions under the CARES Act.
CARES Act funding is provided to reimburse local governments for necessary expenditures incurred during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These include expenditures for medical or public health needs, certain payroll expenses, economic support, contract fees, or other spending reasonably necessary to the function of government. The CARES Act Fund covers costs incurred between March 1 to October 31, 2020.
The City of Sammamish staff recommends to Council to use the $1.9 million to cover COVID-related expenses incurred by Eastside Fire & Rescue (EFR). After contacting Washington’s Department of Commerce to request validation of this methodology, City staff received confirmation on July 23, 2020 that the “methodology to determine the cost associated with the City and the work substantially dedicated to COVID-19 efforts is sound.”
Staff recommends this methodology as it also enables the Council to allocate the freed-up funds that would have been used to pay EFR expenses towards addressing COVID-19 related expenses already incurred or to be incurred. The freed-up funds would not have to be used within the CARES Act time frame, enabling Council to plan for COVID-19 related expenses for the longer term as the City heads into the winter months.
EF&R has experienced a shift in their response as a result of COVID-19, which has been further exacerbated with crews fighting the wildfires. “We’ve had to change our safety protocols and equipment to protect our staff, and our clients, from exposure to COVID-19. EF&R personnel who have been exposed to COVID-19 need to quarantine for 14 days,” said Chief Jeff Clark. “That means we must pay overtime to ensure we have coverage to respond to emergency calls immediately. A few minutes can make the difference between life and death.”
To date, the City of Sammamish has responded to the COVID-19 emergency in a number of ways, spending about $500,000 to date from its general fund. Ongoing expenditures include technology infrastructure to enable a work-from-home policy for City staff; providing PPE to the City’s essential workers; resident-focused events such as free mask distribution; and providing information on help available through a mailing of the COVID-19 resource postcard to all of Sammamish.
The City Council has dedicated additional funding to non-profits that serve the community and families impacted by COVID-19. These COVID-19 related funds are additional to the regular Human Services Grant Program set up by the City for non-profits.
Additionally, the Sammamish City Council established the Small Business Support Grant program which allocated $420,000 to 42 small businesses affected by the public health emergency. The City initially received $98,000 from King County for economic development relief and supplemented an additional $322,000 to create the $420,000 fund.
For continual updates on how the City of Sammamish is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit: https://connect.sammamish.us/covid-19-updates.
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