April 2, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #16
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
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Post a link to this CDC/Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool to your website.
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Survey Responses Needed for Direct Funding Push

No matter if you are a city or village, big or small> if you haven't filled out the survey yet, please do this first!

The National League of Cities and United States Conference of Mayors have worked together to develop a short, easy-to-complete survey for all municipalities to demonstrate the direct fiscal impact of the pandemic on municipal governments of all sizes . This information will be used to make the case in Congress for direct funding to all municipalities, regardless of population size. The information will also be helpful here at home as we make our case on the state level. Responses are needed by the end of the day Friday, April 3. It is imperative that we have as much participation as possible in order to make the best possible case. Please note: individual responses to the survey will not be released and only one response per city can be included. You can access the survey by clicking here

If you are not the right person to fill it out, please forward to the person who is. It really is short - please take the survey!

Pro-tip - if your municipality is not included in the drop-down list, scroll to the very end of that list and choose "Other."

Reminder - make sure you track your expenses and your lost revenues.
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

Friday, April 3, 2020 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Join Zoom Meeting
Or call 1 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 862 094 937

If you aren't able to connect or have a question after participating, please contact Jerry Deschane at email .

We will schedule additional calls as needed. Notice and call-in information will be provided on the League's website and in these Special Edition newsletters, which will also be sent as needed.
PLEASE NOTE
Upcoming League Conferences and Workshops
Our priority is your safety and well-being. Decisions on whether to hold, cancel or postpone League events will be made with that priority as our number-one concern. 
 
Municipal Building Inspectors - April 15-17 - postponed.
League's Local Gov 101 Workshops - three programs were scheduled for May. We are working to provide these as webinars. Please stay tuned.
 
Decisions about the June programs, which include the Clerks, Treasurers & Finance Officers Institute, the Municipal Attorneys Institute and an additional Local Gov 101 Workshop will also be made with health and safety in mind. We will provide notice in our newsletters and on our website regarding those and future workshops. Details on cancellation policies and more... 
Reminder - COVID-19 RESPONSE GRANT PROGRAM
A new funding opportunity from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health will help UW-Madison researchers and community organizations, including local governments, respond to the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Response Grant Program is a strategic, flexible, rapid-response mechanism designed to support innovative, responsive, high-impact projects that aim to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by lessening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through scientific, medical, or public health approaches and/or by supporting those most at risk or experiencing the greatest disparities in care. Learn more...
POLICY ISSUES
Gov. Evers #SaferAtHome Shelter in Place Emergency Order


Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
NEW - Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Update

On April 1 the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a 124 page document with regulations to implement the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations are temporary until the applicable process is completed. DOL continues to take input from employers and individuals as well through April 10 th (see information below). 

We are reviewing the regulations and how they impact previous opinions we have given and the FFCRA Sample Policy that is available on our website. Based on our reading of the regulations to date, we expect that revisions will be necessary and updates will be provided once our review is complete.

In the meantime, DOL is posting a recorded webinar on the FFCRA on its site tomorrow Friday April 3rd and is offering assistance with questions. Please see the information from DOL below 

DOL Webinar and Assistance
WHD will post a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020 to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA.
 
To view the webinar visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
 
WHD invites webinar viewers to call the agency’s toll-free help line at 866-4US-WAGE to speak with a trained WHD professional about any questions they may have.

DOL Solicitation of Feedback
The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue, now extended until close of business on April 10, 2020, to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
 
The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.
 
Starting April 1, USDOL will launch a campaign to solicit feedback on the FFCRA compliance assistance tools as part of the national online dialogue. USDOL has questions and answers, posters, and fact sheets available to help employers understand their obligations and employees understand their rights under the FFCRA. What about these tools is working? What isn’t working? How can we improve them to ensure they are understandable and accessible?
 
Anybody who is interested can participate online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com through April 10, 2020
Elections
Election Lawsuit - We will be closely monitoring the news and will provide a  SPECIAL EDITION newsletter when a decision is issued.
Where to turn if your Clerk becomes ill or otherwise incapacitated?  One option is to email the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association and ask if there are any retired clerks in your region willing to temporarily fill in. Email Faith A. Elford WCPC/CMC, WMCA Executive Director, execdirector@wisclerks.org , and explain what you need and for how long. She will send an email to all WMCA members in that particular district of the state and to retired “Clerks-at-Heart” and to any “Clerks-in-Transition” (former clerks currently not working).  
Letter from Clerks to the Governor and Legislators

Here's the email we received from Barb:

"Attached is a copy of the letter I have sent to Governor Evers on behalf of numerous Clerks, regarding the upcoming election. I will be sending it to Legislators also, as time allows.

Barb Goeckner"

Note that the request for people to sign on did NOT go to all clerks. Read the letter here .
Reminder - Elections Commission Issues Multiple Guidance Memos on Conducting the Spring Election During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the weekend, Wisconsin Election Commission staff issued several memos to municipal clerks on how to best conduct the spring election in the midst of a pandemic. The   public health guidance packet  for elections is posted on  WEC's website  and includes the following:

  • Checklist. This checklist was developed with the advice of a public health official to outline processes for conducting Election Day voting safely for voters and poll workers. Please review the checklist and incorporate these practices into your Election Day planning.

  • Poll Worker Health Screener. The public health official advising the WEC has suggested that on Election Day poll workers be screened to ensure that they can safely work. Attached you will find the screening questions to ask to poll workers. You may either choose to have each poll worker fill out the screener or post the screener and ask poll workers to read the questions and answer them.

  • Polling Place Signage. As is discussed in the attached checklist, it is advised that you place signs on the entrance and in relevant spots in the polling place to advise voters of procedures and enforce social distancing standards. Again, these signs were developed with the advice of a public health official. We will also be distributing printed signs to each county to be distributed to municipalities along with other supplies.  

  • Hospitalized Electors. At its March 27 meeting, the Commission voted to expand the definition of hospitalized elector to include voters in quarantine. We also worked with a public health official to discuss the recommended process to conduct the hospitalized elector process with quarantined voters. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and explains the expanded definition.

  • Curbside/ Drive-Through Procedures. Clerks have asked for guidance on how to conduct curbside voting in accordance with health guidance for those who are not able to enter the polling place. There have also been jurisdictions who have asked for advisement on how to conduct outdoor or “drive-through” voting. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provides public heath procedures.

  • Absentee Witness Requirement. Clerks and voters have also asked for guidance on how absentee voters can have their ballot witnessed in accordance with public health guidance. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provide suggested options for voters who are having difficulty meeting the witness requirement.
Election Worker Training Resources
The Local Government Center (LGC) at UW-Extension has created a ninety-minute election training that clerks can use to train new election workers. This training is free to any clerk that wishes to use it. Melissa Kono, County Extension Educator in Clark and Trempealeau Counties, created the training presentation and materials. Victoria Solomon, Green County Extension Educator, assisted with the training presentation and developed the Recruiting materials.

The resources are available  on the LGC website  so that a clerk can download it to use as required. These materials follow the Wisconsin Election Commission training guidelines. An individual can watch on their home computer or a computer at the local government office. The training is a recorded ZOOM webinar, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

Election Worker Recruitment:
The Local Government Center has also developed resources that include a  sample recruitment pitch  (PDF) for clerks to use to recruit new election workers. 
Steps municipalities are taking to keep voters, poll workers and staff safe during the Spring Election.
Thanks to everyone who provided their great ideas. The responses from the survey of municipal clerks conducted by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities the week of March 23-27 is here .
Creative steps municipalities are taking to recruit enough poll workers for the Spring Election
The list is a compilation of responses the League of Wisconsin Municipalities received from a survey of municipal clerks the week of March 23-27. It can be found here .

The League's Coronavirus Elections page is here .
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
From the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters

April 1, 2020

How should a utility respond to a customer that informs the utility they’ve decided to defer the payment of their bills? How should a utility handle non-payment by a large customer (industrial)?
See the League's Utilities page here .


March 30, 2020

Who is an “emergency responder” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)? by the Federal Dept. of Labor
See the League's website here under Federal.

Are employees of a local health department or agency considered “health care providers” that may be excluded from paid leave under the FFCRA? by the Federal Dept. of Labor
See the League's website here under Federal.


March 27, 2020




March 26, 2020

Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Sample Employee Policy and Guidance
See the League's website here under Federal.

Governor's Emergency Powers
The scope of Governor’s emergency powers does not include suspending statutes. Read more about the Governor’s emergency powers in this recent Legislative Council Information Memorandum on: AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY


March 25, 2020

Impact on property assessment and taxation by DOR
See the League's website here.


March 20, 2020

Summary of the recently enacted Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  SUMMARY  

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  Paid Sick Leave  


March 19, 2020

Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Latest Actions Regarding Spring Election Preparedness
Answer: See the League's website here .

Effect of DHS’ Order #5 on Municipalities
(Prohibitions on gatherings of 10 or more people)
Answer: See the League's website here.

Can Restaurants Providing Meals for Carry-out and Delivery Sell Alcohol?
Answer: See the League's website here .



Municipal Emergency Powers During COVID-19
Answer: See the League's website here .



Complying with the open meetings law during the COVID-19 health emergency.  
Answer: See the League's website here . Includes Wis. Dept. of Justice guidance we received March 16, 2020.

Spending to address COVID-19 and the Expenditure Restraint Program .
Answer: See the League's website here. Includes guidance we received from the Wis. Dept. of Revenue on March 13, 2020.
Continuing to conduct meetings  

Remote Public Meetings Toolkit  (PDF) By Dane County - March 26, 2020

The  Office of Open Government  in the Wisconsin Department of Justice has issued two advisories indicating that governmental bodies may meet remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency and still comply with the open meetings law.  March 16 Advisory & March 20 Advisory

Local Government Options for Conducting Meetings Remotely (PDF) by Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities explains the options and the Advisories. It has been shared with the other local government associations, including the Clerks Association.

Federal
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The  CARES Act was signed into law March 27 . Provisions in the Act helpful to municipalities are summarized by the National League of Cities  here .

NEW - Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau CARES Act Memorandum

The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared a memorandum explaining the major provisions of the CARES Act relating to state and local governments, and the potential amount of funding Wisconsin may receive. Please note, this information is preliminary. Available information relating to the CARES Act is incomplete at this time and subject to rapid change as additional guidance and information is provided. As a reminder, municipalities should track all costs incurred that relate to the COVID-19 situation. 

NEW - Transit Funding - State will receive a total of $205,585,868

The following will be announced today: $25 billion is provided to public transit operators to protect public health and safety while ensuring transportation access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services remain available during the COVID-19 response. As the revenues that sustain this essential service are severely impacted due to a reduction in fare box revenue and dedicated sales taxes, this increased Federal investment will help to sustain over 430,000 transit jobs and preserve access to our public service and critical workforce that are the backbone of our COVID19 prevention, response, and recovery efforts. 
NEW - COVID-19 Emergency Declaration – Applying for Public Assistance
On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • State and local governments are eligible to apply for Public Assistance. 
  • Eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction or guidance of public health officials’ may be reimbursed under Category B of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FACT SHEET on ELIGIBLE EXPENSES
  • FEMA assistance will be provided at the 75 percent Federal cost share
  • Local governments and other eligible public assistance applicants will apply through their respective state. In Wisconsin contact Eric Learn, the State Public Assistance Officer at WEM, 608-242-3200, for more information.
  • The application deadline for the COVID- 19 disaster public assistance has been indefinitely extended by FEMA. FEMA waived the ordinary 30 day application deadline that would have otherwise closed on April 12. 
FFCRA Employee Rights Poster > If you haven't already, please do this!

Under the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA) all covered employers must provide the temporary benefits required by the Act and "post" the Department of Labor’s FFCRA Employee Rights Poster by April 1, 2020  

From the FAQ:
An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

For the full FAQ and more, see the League's Employee page here...
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
Communications
REQUEST - Please send us your photos typifying your experience from this last week for publication in the League's May magazine

Photos will be placed in chronological order. Our goal is to provide a look back at what was happening with you and with your municipalities during these few weeks. It doesn't matter what kind of work you do in service to your community, please share a photo or two!

Photos can be from your work with the City or Village or from your personal experience.

Send your photos straight from your Smartphone in the highest resolution possible to Sandy at league@lwm-info.org

Subject line should be easy for Sandy to flag: Photo for League magazine

In the body of your email, please include:

  • Municipality Name
  • Submitted by or Photo Taken by (so we can give you credit)
  • Date photo was take 
  • Short Caption - just a sentence or two explaining the photo.

We will include as many photos as we can. We will be accepting photos until April 10. You can submit more than once.
In the News

Evers, GOP Leaders, Signal Movement Toward State COVID-19 Legislation
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders signaled Wednesday that they were making progress toward a state bill to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said they support a temporary repeal of Wisconsin's one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits, an effort pushed for the past two years by Evers.

The governor also unveiled a new round of proposals he wants the Legislature to consider as part of a legislative session to address the new coronavirus, including a plan that would guarantee the payment of all unemployment benefits and another that would spend $150 million on grants to help small businesses weather the economic storm.

While Evers and Republicans remained far apart on specifics, Vos and Fitzgerald's comments were noteworthy given their previous opposition to repealing the one-week waiting period, a law signed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Read the story...

Beloit consolidates all polling places to City Hall for April 7 election
The City of Beloit is consolidating all polling places to City Hall, 100 State St., for the April 7 election due to a lack of poll workers and the threat of COVID-19.

Voting will take place in a drive-through format as voters cast ballots from their vehicles.

The City Hall parking lot is currently blocked off, and City Engineer Scot Prindiville has drafted a traffic mitigation plan to cut down on traffic issues in the area. Read the story...

Wisconsin police close craft stores, CBD shops as essential vs. non-essential business debate continues
Two Brown County Hobby Lobby stores shut down at the direction of police Wednesday, the latest closures related to claims businesses are incorrectly remaining open as "essential businesses."

Across Wisconsin, communities continue to grapple with what constitutes an essential business under Gov. Tony Evers emergency order and what to do with businesses that disagree with their designation.  Read the story...
We go to work for you. Please stay home for us!

We know that you have been working hard to keep your community safe and services available. Thank you!

You can download this hot off the press "We go to work for you" graphic as a PDF here .

This work is the result of the League's partnership on messaging with UW Madison that we initiated March 16. Stay tuned for more.
Please consider sharing Facebook posts from the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services Facebook page to your own Facebook page. Scroll down their page to see what they've posted.

Copy and paste this explanation of #SaferAtHome into your posts:

To slow the spread, limit close interaction to the same 5 people TOTAL, NOT different small groups."  #SaferAtHome
Webinars and Training
Join the Facebook Politics & Government Outreach Team to learn about tips and tools that State & Local Government partners can leverage on Facebook during this unprecedented time, and have your questions answered in real time.
Friday, Apr 3, 2020 11:00 – 12:00 PM CST Register Here
Please share with any State and Local government agencies, elected officials, or their staff across the nation who may be interested.   

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Preparing for the New Day: Calming the chaos, focusing on the finances, readying for resilience
Friday, April 03 - Noon CT - Free
A 60-minute webinar for leaders of local government finance and innovation.
Open to all, designed for local government finance, budget, and innovation staffs.
By Alliance for Innovation with Mark Funkhouser - Nick Kittle - Rebecca Ryan

***

How to communicate with clarity during COVID-19
Apr 6, 2020 02:00 PM - Free
Join Laura Gallagher, President of The Creative Company and Producer, Publicist and Former Reporter Madison Lee for The Creative Company’s Crisis Communications webinar. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to create a plan that will communicate trust and confidence in your organization through COVID-19 and any crisis situation. Details and registration
General Resources
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
COVID-19 is a virus that has not previously infected humans and information about its rate of spread and its effects is still largely unknown, which makes it incredibly important to be highly cautious in dealing with the current situation. 

LATEST UPDATES
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will continue to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. You are encouraged to monitor the site for updated guidance as the situation continues to evolve.


Want to share relevant and credible information to your Social Media?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Facebook & on Twitter (Scroll down to see more recent posts.)

The Wisconsin Dept of Health Services (DHS) on Facebook & on Twitter.

And the League's social media: