April 17, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #27
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
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League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

Monday, April 20 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial in: 1 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 459 115 667
Password: 990365

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

Newsletter schedule - the League's next COVID-19 Newsletter will be sent on Monday, April 20.

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.

The FAQs include a grid regarding Business Requirements that you will likely find very helpful. As examples, it includes information on farmer's markets, golf courses, food trucks and rummage sales.
The Five Things We Need for a Smart Re-Start

This graph was presented by Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Raymond, Sr. in an April 15 presentation.

Public Health experts, including experts advising the federal effort, echo Dr. Raymond's list.

Click here to share this from the League's Facebook page to your own. This will also be posted to the League's website along with the full slide deck.
The first step to re-open cities: 'Box in the virus,' expert says 

"As mayors across the country fight Covid-19 and plot a path toward recovery, many are also asking when their cities can reopen. But according to Bill Gates, who was the guest of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the latest learning and coaching session of the Coronavirus Local Response Initiative , mayors should zero in on the steps to get to reopening—not a date. "We're going to enter this opening up phase, and whether that should be in late May or early June, we're definitely going to do it," Gates said. "But we need to do it in a way that we don't see rebounds," adding that mayors need to focus on testing and contact tracing. "That's really the imperative." 
Getting to that place—where cities "box in the virus," as former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden described—was one focus of yesterday’s session, which also included presentations from Harvard and Johns Hopkins University professors. "It is not time to relax our guard," Frieden said, pointing to New York City's Covid-19 death toll of 10,300 people in just over a month. "It's a warning to every place not to underestimate this virus." 

Coronavirus initiative gives U.S. mayors (all leaders) a boost on the frontlines of an emerging crisis
Learn more and sign-up (Any size/type of municipality is eligible.)
NEW - Quick Two-Question League Survey - What is keeping you up at night?

As part of the League's mandate to be that place where you and your peers can discuss and prepare for the future, the League is collecting information from its members about the medium-term future for local governments. We have a simple, two question survey where we ask you to tell us what you see as the next great challenge for your community. We want to hear from chief executives, administrators, clerks, and finance officers - you don't need to coordinate your responses . We’re not asking for statistics or hard data. We hope you will take a few brief moments to fill out and respond to this survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KCGVZB6
Reminder - Tracking Expenses - Helpful Guidance and Templates

Grants Portal Account and Request for Public Assistance FEMA



Note: FEMA assistance will be provided at a 75% Federal cost share.


Spreadsheet Templates are available on our website here .

Thanks to Sharon Eveland, Clintonville and Kevin Lahner, Waukesha for providing these resources!
Survey Results Already Having an Impact!
The United States Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities conducted a joint survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities, villages and towns with input from more than 2,400 local officials. The resulting infographic and fact sheet paint an urgent picture that Congress cannot ignore.
 
Our message is already being heard—see the Washington Post and Associated Press .

Thanks to everyone that filled out the survey! Now, if you haven't yet, please take action!
Reminder CALL TO ACTION!!
Contact Your Congressional Delegation!
Co-Sponsor the Coronavirus Community Relief Act
The majority of America’s cities, villages and towns are not eligible for direct relief under the CARES Act, due to the 500,000 population threshold. The House has offered a proposal to address this specific funding issue - we need you to ACT NOW to build momentum. 

H.R. 6467 was introduced on April 7. The bill provides $250 billion in funding to all local governments with fewer than 500,000 residents. 

These members of Congress heard the message that cities, towns and villages below the 500,000 population threshold need direct federal aid to face mounting challenges related to COVID-19. This bill seeks to create a new fund dedicated to supporting local governments, regardless of population. 
Reach out to your members in the House to ask them to support this critical legislation. Bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic Members of Congress is key. 

Click through to the National League of Cities Take Action  page to learn more. If it doesn't let you click through, please contact your Congressional Delegation by email. Thank you! 
Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL)

Thanks to Tom German, BCPL Executive Secretary for joining us on the League call on Friday, April 10!

Contact Tom at ​​ tom.german@wi.gov ​(608) 267-2233

More information about the funding that the BCPL has available to municipalities is on their website here .
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. 

League's Local Gov 101 Workshops - three programs were scheduled for May and one for June 5th.  All four of these will be provided as webinars.

 NEW - Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers - CANCELLED! Please mark your calendar for June 9-11, 2021 (yes, that is next year!) at the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay.  

Decisions about the other upcoming programs, including the Municipal Attorneys Institute, 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... 
POLICY ISSUES
Elections
Reminder - Notice and Certificates of Election, Oaths, and New Terms
 
Read Claire Silverman’s memo detailing the notice and certificates of election requirements, oaths and new terms here
Important - Absentee Ballot Tracking Information
From the Wisconsin Elections Commission MyVote website:

"Election participation information may take up to 30 days to appear in your voter record. Absentee ballot tracking information will only display up to Election Day for each election. Please use My Voter Info to check the My Voting Activity section and verify your participation for the 2020 Spring Election and Presidential Preference. Clerks have begun recording election participation, but it may up take to 30 days for this process to be completed."

Click here to share this information from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipalities page.
Additional Policy Issues
Reminder - WI Dept. of Health Services Guidance on Hospital Surge Facilities - What Municipalities Need to Know

The memorandum is in response to the current challenges that our health care facilities are facing specific to bed capacity for individuals presenting with COVID-19 as well as individuals relying on health care facilities for non-pandemic concerns. The anticipated bed shortages throughout the State of Wisconsin are addressed on a regional and municipal level as potential surge capacity.

The purpose is to establish the process for hospitals and critical access hospitals to expand their acute care inpatient services temporarily during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Ann Hansen, Director
WI Department of Health Services, Bureau of Health Services

Henry Kosarzycki, Director
WI Department of Health Services, Office of Plan Review and Inspection
Reminder - Utility Employees Now Considered Essential - Eligible for Testing

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) added critical infrastructure employees to the “Tier 1/Category A” for those who may receive priority COVID-19 testing from a health care provider, if that employee is demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19. Common symptoms include: fever (over 100.5°), coughing, shortness of breath, headache, and body aches/tiredness.
 
Critical infrastructure employees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and want to be tested should contact their own health care providers and request a test. Health care providers have a form defining who is eligible to be tested. DHS added a check box for critical infrastructure employees under “Tier 1/Category A” as an eligibility qualification for a COVID-19 test. Employees may need to mention this to their health care providers, as this is a change from current eligibility guidelines. DHS is pushing out revised forms to health care providers, but it may take some time for the providers to be aware of the change.
 
Please note that testing for asymptomatic workers is NOT recommended at this point in time, as testing people without symptoms provides no assurance that they will stay symptom/disease-free. 

Chairperson Rebecca Valcq
Wisconsin Public Service Commission from an April 10 email. This simply provides that utility employees have been added to the list of those eligible for testing.
Reminder - Water Utility COVID-19 FAQs 

Q: How should a municipal utility contact the Public Service Commission to request to opt-in to waiving credit card fees for its customers during the COVID-19 emergency?
  
A. The utility should file its request on the PSC’s Electronic Records Filing (ERF) system. Please upload an application letter to ERF under your Utility ID [XXXX] requesting the tariff change. 

If your utility has more than one service type, you must file a separate application letter for each service type. The name of the ERF submission should be:

o “Request for Temporary Service Rules Waiving Credit Card Fees in Response to COVID-19 – Water”
o “Request for Temporary Service Rules Waiving Credit Card Fees in Response to COVID-19 – Electric” 
o “Request for Temporary Service Rules Waiving Credit Card Fees in Response to COVID-19 – Gas” 
• The application letter must include the preferred effective date, and if your utility has more than one service type (ie. water and electric), the letter must indicate which service type the request pertains to. 
• By default, the waiver will be effective as of 3/24/20. If the utility prefers a later effective date, please include the preferred date in the letter.

Once PSC Records Management accepts the request, Commission staff will open a tariff amendment docket by service type (TE, TG, or TW).

Please Note: If your utility has more than one service type, the Commission will open a new, separate docket for each service type. You will receive a response from the Commission for each docket. The response will include the utility’s new, temporary service rule language authorizing the utility to waive the credit card fees.

Please contact our Utility Inquiry Line: PSCRecordsMail@wisconsin.gov or 608-266-3766 for help with this process.

The League's COVID-19 Utilities page has been updated to include this information.
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)
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
From the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters

Can be accessed here .
Federal
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Reminder - FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program Information Update

Eric Learn, State Public Assistance Officer, Wisconsin Emergency Management, provided the following clarifications about FEMA Public Assistance:
 
  1. Eligible Election Costs – The cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces including polling sites is an eligible cost, however election related costs are not. Costs must be tied to eligible Category B Protective Measure activities; running elections, while very important, would not fall under the Cat B umbrella. So, the time and supplies needed to clean/disinfect the public spaces would be eligible costs, unfortunately the additional costs associated with printing extra absentee ballots, postage, and time preparing/mailing/counting the ballots would not be eligible costs under FEMA’s PA program. This Fact Sheet provides a description of COVID-19 eligible expenses under the FEMA Public Assistance Program.
  2. Loss of Revenue – is not an eligible expense under the FEMA PA program.
  3. Pay Policies – FEMA determines the eligibility of overtime, premium pay, and compensatory time costs based on the Applicant’s pre-disaster written labor policy. Pay policies established after event would not be eligible.
  4. RPA Deadline – There has been some misinformation distributed that the deadline to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) is April 12, 2020. This is incorrect! FEMA has extended the deadline nationally and it will remain open for the duration of the Public Health Emergency.

If there are any questions or concerns, contact:

Eric Learn
State Public Assistance Officer
Wisconsin Emergency Management
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Update
 
On April 1 the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a 124 page document with temporary regulations to implement the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations are now final. 
 
DOL has posted a recorded webinar on the FFCRA on its site and is offering assistance with questions. To view the webinar visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
 
The DOL Wages and Hours Division (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.
Reminder - R & R Insurance Sample FFCRA Employee Leave Request Form

Thanks to R & R Insurance for sharing their Employee request form with us for you to use. Find it here .

The League's COVID-19 Employee Policy page.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security
(CARES) Act
Reminder - COVID-19 Update: A Deeper Dive – Community Development Block Grants Under CARES - Husch Blackwell Strategies - April 7, 2020

House Democratic Leaders have begun to brief the Democratic Caucus on the outline of the next phase of COVID-19 Response legislation and it appears that the next stimulus package will focus on replenishing funds for programs established in Congress’s $2.2 trillion virus relief bill signed into law last month but the Speaker also noted that the next stimulus bill should assist state and local governments, with an emphasis on smaller municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents. 

The CARES Act did include $150 billion in relief resources for states and in today’s “Deeper Dive” we focus on how Community Development Block Grants under the CARES Act can be leveraged by state and local governments to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Read the full breakdown of the new updates and deep-dive analysis here .
Reminder - 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. 
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
Take this POLCO Survey and Pass it along!

"Given the gravity and complexity of the current COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, we are taking steps to bring resident voices to even more local decision-makers.

Polco and National Research Center (NRC) are measuring the impact of COVID-19 on people and communities nationwide. We hope you will take a few moments to share your experience by completing this short survey.

Your input can help guide actions for communities across the country.
Survey results will be shared with official government organizations to help them understand impacts on residents and help communities respond to the crisis and plan for recovery. Your responses are confidential and private. Polco/NRC does not report any individually identifying information. This information is solely for aggregate demographic analyses.

Thank you for taking this survey. Responses received by April 17 will be included in our report. We appreciate and value your voice on this issue." 
Communications
WE CAN GO THE DISTANCE TOGETHER: 10 WAYS YOU CAN DO YOUR PART
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Communication Collaborative for COVID-19 Response has developed 10 essential steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. They reflect the overall need for maintaining a physical distance from each other, washing you hands and staying home: Read the article...
Share this!

If you think this will resonate with your constituents CLICK HERE to share it from the League's Facebook page to your own or your communities.

You can copy and paste in this message to accompany it:

Please  #DoYourPart ! For the generation that came before you and the generation that will follow.

For more of this kind of messaging: https://www.doyourpartcovid.com/content-to-share
How to join the Wisconsin Historical Society COVID-19 Journal Project
The Wisconsin Historical Society is inviting state residents and those with a connection to the state to keep 30-, 60-, or 90-day journals in whatever format works best for the author. They can be written, recorded as audio or video, photographed or expressed through artwork.

Journals will be collected and become part of the society's permanent archives as it strives to document the COVID-19 pandemic. To take part, go to https://wisconsinhistory.org/records/Article/CS16333

Journaling through the COVID-19 pandemic to record history
The project is modeled after a similar initiative during the Civil War when some Wisconsin troops were issued journals and asked to document their war-time experience. Some of those journals are now part of the vast archives at the society, which was founded in 1846 in Madison. Read the story...

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 how government, politics and advocacy partners can leverage Facebook Live during this unprecedented time, and have your questions answered in real time. To sign up for one of the two training sessions Facebook is offering, click the corresponding link below:

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 2:00 – 3:00 PM CST
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Creative Wisconsin Day webinars, presented by Arts Wisconsin
April 16, 2020 - The League is a sponsor of Creative Wisconsin Day

How to Be an Effective and Informed Advocate, 10 – 11 am
While so much is changing quickly, one thing remains the same: the arts and culture are essential. Learn how to be an effective arts advocate with Anne Katz, Director of Arts Wisconsin. It’s important to to put a human face on the work and the impact it has on people, communities and economies. Learn tips and tools, including how to write an op-ed, letter to the editor, or advocacy letter.  There will be a Q&A section at the end of the webinar.

Get to know regional and statewide service and advocacy organizations, 11 am – 12 noon
With Anne Katz, Director of Arts Wisconsin; Gail Sumi, Director of Communications, League of Wisconsin Municipalities; Laurie Fellenz, Director of Wisconsin School Music Association and Wisconsin Music Educators Association; and David Lee, Director of Imagine MKE. There will be a Q&A section at the end of the webinar. 

Listening sessions with Arts Wisconsin and Wisconsin Arts Board
Next sessions: Friday, April 17, 2020, 9-10 am and Tuesday, April 21, 7-8 pm
Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board host Zoom listening sessions with Wisconsin’s creative sector each Friday at 9 am as the COVID-19 crisis continues, to share perspectives on the impact of the pandemic on work and life, and brainstorm recommendations on actions to take locally and globally. In addition, we’re starting an evening session, to be held every two weeks, to expand participation in the conversation.  
 
To participate in all sessions: 

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Local Government Essentials
Programs brought to you by the Local Government Center at UW-Madison Extension

Alcohol Beverage Regulation and Licensing – Part 1
Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Under state law, Wisconsin municipalities issue and renew alcohol licenses. New municipal clerks and others looking for a refresher on the basics of alcohol licensing will benefit most from this session. Learn about the different types of licenses, license qualifications, notice requirements, and other statutory requirements as your municipality prepares for the upcoming license renewal period.
Presented by Attorney Carol Nawrocki of the Wisconsin Towns Association and Attorney Claire Silverman of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

Alcohol Beverage Regulation and Licensing – Part 2
Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Part 2 is intended for both new and continuing officials who want to stay up-to-date with recent changes in the law, current issues, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue resources related to alcohol licensing. In addition to providing these updates, Mr. Quam will be available to answer any questions you submit ahead of time, and if time, those questions posed during the presentation. To submit questions, please email them by Wednesday, May 1, 2020 to  lgc@extension.wisc.edu .
Presented by Tyler Quam Special Agent-in-Charge at Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit.
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: