Council approves emergency funds
The San Marcos City Council reallocated $150,000 for activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic during Tuesday's meeting.
The ordinance approved the allocation of $50,000 to each of the special service budgets of the city’s general fund, electric fund, and water and wastewater fund.
The approved funding could be used to acquire COVID-19 test kits to supplement the supply being used by local testing facilities. Staff recommended any purchased kits be used to augment public testing only when the normal testing capacity is at risk of being overrun.
Before voting and approving the city's Cite and Release Ordinance, Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp provided a COVID-19 update announcing details from Gov. Greg Abbott’s most recent order about beginning to reopen the state. Schools remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, State Parks are open for day use with social distancing practices and nonessential businesses are welcome to reopen for retail to-go. Stapp said conversations are in the works with the outlet malls for potentially reopening in a retail to-go model.
Mayor Jane Hughson continued to encourage social distancing and wearing cloth face coverings in public for people older than the age of 2. The city has begun taking further precautions at work by performing temperature checks for city staff as they come to work.
An update on grant relief applications revealed that the city did not qualify to receive funding from the All Together ATX Central Texas Rapid Response Grant — a grant through Austin Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Austin. Other applications are still awaiting response including the Main Street Revitalization grant.
As part of their efforts to provide relief to residents who have been affected economically by COVID-19, the city has provided utility late fee exemptions on 87 commercial accounts and 65 residential accounts to date. The city encourages anyone who is struggling to pay their utility bills because of economic hardships related to COVID-19 reach out to them for payment deferrals and late fee exemptions.
In other business, council approved an amendment to construct a box hangar and increasing the funding of the project by $39K.
The council also honored fallen San Marcos Police Officer Justin Putnam with a moment of silence during Tuesday's meeting.
“Our police officers are dedicated public servants whose goal is to keep us safe and who put their lives on the line every day. The support in our community has been overwhelming,” Hughson said.