LACEY –– Members of the Lacey Finance & Economic Development Committee approved a series of budget amendments to the city’s 2020 budget in a Tuesday morning meeting this week in an effort to grapple with a changing financial landscape spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the amendments to this year’s budget, money from the CARES Act, the economic stimulus package Congress passed to assist with COVID-19 relief, was allotted to the city in the amount of $1.5 million. City officials authorized certain expenditures in recent months to assist with that relief on a local level, and the CARES Act money coming to the city reimburses city officials for those expenses. This includes a $1 million reimbursement for expenditures related to the Small Business Stabilization Fund, $254,000 for local United Way COVID-19 relief programs, $10,000 for the city’s Backpack Program, $204,000 for the Thurston Economic Council childcare programs and the allotment of personal protective equipment to be distributed to businesses.
Some money was included to hire a new assistant city manager, although Troy Woo, the city’s finance director, acknowledged the city has a hiring freeze for city jobs.
“We certainly want to keep that placeholder,” Woo said. “I certainly have my fingers crossed that things will change and we’ll be able to move forward and get some assistance within the city manager’s office.”
Other efforts include moving $100,000 from the city’s reserves, usually allotted for the city’s carbon reduction plan. Woo said he wanted to make sure the city had money available to implement new programs that cut down on carbon emissions here. Other items included $70,000 from the capital equipment fund to reimburse the city to help the Economic Development Council with supporting local businesses in the area, as well as a proposed $280,000 transfer from the capital equipment fund to the city’s rental fund.
Changes were made to the budget in relation to financial contributions the city will make to the city’s parks, as well as the Lacey Museum & Convention Center project. Those involved with the museum project requested $81,234 from the city, which Woo said wasn’t a new request.
“This has all been accounted for in previous budgets through the Heritage Grant received by the city from the state,” Woo said.
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