Woodland Park City Council considered two items in its July 9 work session. The appetizer was providing direction to city Planning Director Sally Riley on an ordinance that would regulate single-family projects in multifamily zones.
Riley reminded the council to focus on the matter at hand and to save discussions on open space and neighborhood configurations for the Comprehensive Plan upgrade process later this year.
Then there was the entree: how to get Coronavirus Relief Fund distributions to the people who need them.
The Coronavirus Relief Fund is a $150 billion portion of the national Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and has been set aside to help state and local governments help their citizens with COVID-19-related costs.
The City will receive up to $674,515 in the form of reimbursements to residents and small businesses for COVID-19-related expenses. Most of that money must be allocated by the end of October and all of it must be spent by the end of December, according to the rules.
Teller County, Cripple Creek and Victor are pooling their funds and working together, Woodland Park decided to go it alone. Council and city officials have also decided to administer the funds using in-house staff.
The City is considering creating two application forms, one for small businesses and nonprofit organizations and the other for residents. These will be available on the city’s newly upgraded website, city-woodlandpark.org.
The fund is administered by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs with the State Controller making final decisions on questions of eligible and ineligible reimbursements.
The fund will not cover items that are already reimburses or granted by other state and federal programs.
“We need to put together an application that asks the right questions,” said Councilwoman Kellie Case. “Then we will have documentation that we’ve done our due diligence.”
Councilman James Pfaff asked that the city keep the program as simple as possible while making sure people aren’t double-dipping.
All council members agreed that these are grants and not loans. Staff will look at city data, including surveys of small businesses that were completed by Main Street and sales tax revenue.
City Attorney Jason Meyers said the DOLA guidelines for distribution are not as complete or clear as they could be. He will be looking for answers to questions on what proofs of need will be required and how nonprofits, churches and home-based businesses will be able to use the program.
Funds might be allocated into different pools of money and there could also be an application deadline so that the city will know how much money is left to spend before the deadlines and reallocated to other eligible uses.
“This isn’t the last discussion we’ll be having on this,” Meyers said.
There will be another work session at 6 p.m. on July 16 before the regular council meeting at 7 p.m.