During their Tuesday, June 16 meeting, Kirkland City Council adopted a resolution approving the City Manager’s proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relieve, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding framework, authorizing the City Manager to direct the spending of Kirkland’s estimated $2.6 million in potential CARES Act funding.
Expenses in City General Operations could include staff support for enhanced community outreach and necessary CARES Act grant recipient monitoring and oversight, along with ongoing COVID-19 related expenses including pandemic leave and personal protective equipment for City staff and first responders.
Human Services expenses could include staff support for COVID-19 related human services strategies, reimbursement grants of human services stabilization initiative funding, and a survey aimed at communities of color to fully understand the impacts of this pandemic. Additional potential human resources expenses could include a rental assistance program, grants to help service providers absorb increased costs of implementing social distancing guidelines in day centers and emergency shelters, and additional support for families with students in the Lake Washington School District.
Small Business Relief expenses could include PPE for small businesses, outreach to connect small businesses to resources, and communication materials on best practices for safe business operations. The funding could also help support concepts identified by the “Outside the Walls” Task Force, which has developed a framework for supporting and sustaining Kirkland’s small business community. Framework concepts include things like designated pickup and drop-off zones for retail shops, sidewalk cafés, and “Parklets,” which convert small segments of right-of-way from parking areas to public spaces that community members can enjoy.
CARES Act funding is provided on a reimbursement basis for documented COVID-19 related expenses only and may not be used to replace lost revenue. The funding framework directs that CARES Act funding be allocated in substantially equal parts to COVID-19 related expenses for City General Operations, Human Services Needs and Small Business Assistance.
Council was briefed on the concept of “Streateries,” which combine “Parklets” with sidewalk cafés. The “Streateries” concept will be evaluated and possibly implemented along Park Lane, and further analyzed for feasibility on Lake Washington Boulevard. The city of Issaquah has implemented streateries in their downtown.
Council previously allocated a $30,000 contribution to the Kirkland Small Business Relief Fund grant program managed by the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. The City is evaluating whether these funds are reimbursable under the CARES Act. The city anticipates that a second round of grant funding could be available as early as in the next few weeks.
City staff will now work to implement programs consistent with strategies outlined in the memo discussed at the City Council meeting.
Watch the meeting on the funding allocation here.