Park City taps emergency funds for coronavirus relief, including vaccine distribution efforts
Monies signal City Hall will continue to offer assistance to the community
Park City officials will access funds within the municipal budget earmarked for emergencies to distribute to assistance programs as City Hall continues relief efforts related to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council recently authorized staffers to access $170,000. Emergency contingency funds like the monies that were authorized are available in response to what are defined as “unforeseen emergencies or disasters that require immediate response and incur short to mid-term unbudgeted expenses,” according to a City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the recent City Council meeting.
City Hall staffers in the report recommended the funds be tapped immediately. The monies will be used for a range of assistance, including:
• “upscaling” the volunteer management of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine and providing added support to rapid coronavirus testing.
• subsidies for accessing mental health services.
• supporting “at-risk employee” and student populations.
• added help for food programs.
• housing support, described as “rental assistance and eviction support programs.”
The report said accessing the $170,000 “will implement time-sensitive COVID-19 mitigation measures, which if not addressed will imminently threaten public health, safety or welfare.”
The report also noted there are organizations that are “already capable of providing immediate emergency services in the areas” of assistance. Leaders opted to distribute the monies to organizations with which City Hall has existing contracts rather than seeking proposals from others. That option allowed for a more rapid distribution of the monies.
The inclusion of volunteer management regarding the vaccine distribution and added support for rapid testing is noteworthy since it is the County Courthouse rather than City Hall that is leading the distribution and testing. Other categories of assistance outlined by the municipal government are also notable, such as the housing support. Many in Park City struggled in the community’s resort-driven real estate and rental market long before the onset of the pandemic.
City Hall since early in the spread of the coronavirus has provided financial assistance through a variety of methods, including rent abatements for municipal tenants. The municipal government also distributed a combined $2.2 million to small businesses or not-for-profit organizations through a City Hall grant program designed to allocate monies received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, widely known as the CARES Act and signed by former President Trump in March.
The continued assistance through the emergency contingency funds signals City Hall remains concerned about the community recovery nearly a year after the Park City area was among the first places in the state to be struck by the sickness.
The concerns are continuing even amid a nascent economic recovery in Park City and surrounding Summit County from the depths of the downturn in the spring. Sales-tax numbers have consistently beaten expectations and the unemployment rate in Summit County has improved markedly since soaring in the spring.
But it is unclear what sort of economic numbers the community will post during the core months of the ski season. The winter months, traditionally drawing larger, higher-spending crowds, are more important economically than other times of the year.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.