June 22, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #41
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
Is someone forwarding these emails to you? You can subscribe here .
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

Tuesday, June 23 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Guests: Jamie Kuhn, Director of Outreach, Office of Governor Tony Evers and DOA staff to talk about "Routes to Recovery" and answer your questions.

Join Zoom Meeting

Or Dial 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 943 2945 2289
Password: 990365

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

REVISED Roundtable Call schedule!  After the June 23rd call we will be taking a short break. Our next call will be July 14 .

NEWSLETTER SCHEDULE - A reminder that going forward the League's Special Edition Covid-19 Newsletter will be sent as needed rather than weekly.

We will schedule additional calls as needed. Notice and call-in information will be provided on the League's website if there is no newsletter that week.
DOA Releases Routes to Recovery Program Guidance for Local Governments

On Friday, June 19, the Department of Administration released a Routes to Recovery Program Guidance for Local Governments providing information on what COVID-19 related expenses incurred by municipalities in response to the pandemic are eligible for reimbursement under the $190 million grant program funded by the federal CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. With one exception, the Guidance seems to allow more types of COVID-19 related expenses to be reimbursed than Department of Administration staff had initially said would be allowed when the program was first announced two weeks ago. Below are five key takeaways :

  1. Municipalities may include COVID-19 related expenses not mentioned in the categories or category descriptions listed in the Routes to Recovery grant program. As long as the expenditure meets the general eligibility requirements for the program (i.e., an unbudgeted expenditure necessary to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency and incurred between March 1, 2020 and November 6, 2020) it can be included in the expense reporter even if it is not expressly mentioned in the Guidance. Municipalities should choose the most applicable category for the expenditure and provide enough description in the expense report for outside reviewers to understand how the pandemic necessitated the expense. See FAQ 3.2.
  2. Payroll expenses for “public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees” between March 1 and November 6 are eligible for reimbursement. The Routes to Recovery Guidance points out that the federal guidance “presumes that employees in these types of roles are performing services that are substantially dedicated to COVID-19 mitigation and response efforts, unless specific circumstances indicate otherwise.” Payroll expenses for employees from other departments temporarily redeployed to assist in public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar roles to meet the needs of the public health emergency are also eligible for reimbursement for work hours substantially dedicated to COVID-19 mitigation and response. See FAQ 3.4 and 3.5. 
  3. Long term building modifications to enable COVID-19 health precautions are eligible for reimbursement such as “installing sanitizer stations or touchless soap/towel dispensers; and other expenses incurred to protect the public health and reduce the risks of transmission in public areas and facilities, so long as the local government determines those efforts are reasonably necessary due to the public health emergency.” See FAQ 3.13.
  4. Unanticipated and unbudgeted purchases of services and equipment to enable public employees to perform work duties from home are expenses eligible for reimbursement under the program, including additional licensing costs, subscriptions, or fees, device purchases or leases (e.g., laptops), and IT contractor costs.  See FAQ 3.14
  5. Municipalities may not use Routes to Recovery local government grants to help fund a municipally created COVID-19 grant program for local businesses. See FAQ 2.7.     

The Routes to Recovery Key Takeaways (PDF) is posted to our website here on the "Financing Impacts" page and may be updated as warranted.   
Legal FAQs on local authority and information on Emergency Orders and municipal plans for reopening are available on the League's website here . The new toolkit is also posted to that page.
If you haven't already, please share this!

"We're All In" Small Business Grants Application

We heard from WEDC that they are not fully subscribed. It is NOT too late!

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23.

As a heads up, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are providing letters to businesses that are not members of chambers, associations, etc. Details here .
The SBA hired additional staff to get letters of acknowledgment out and are prepared to do 2,000 more with the added team members. They will stay open until 8:30 pm writing letters on Tuesday night. WEDC staff will be on the phone lines to answer questions until at least 8:30 pm Tuesday night. 

Background - Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the "We’re All In" Small Business Grant Program will provide $2,500 grants to 30,000 Wisconsin small businesses to assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory. The application is only open through June 23.

Details of the program are here . Click here to share this updated post from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipality's Facebook page.
Adopt the Your "City/Village is Essential" Resolution

You can use  West Salem's resolution   (PDF) and as a Word Document (this will download to your computer) as an example:


WHEREAS, America's cities, towns, and villages face unprecedented threats due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency; and

WHEREAS, municipalities are essential to America's economic recovery and
without funding support for local governments, municipalities may go from being a critical part of the economic solution, to becoming a major obstacle to long-term stabilization and recovery; and....

Please send a copy of your resolution to the League at league@lwm-info.org Thanks!
FEMA Public Assistance Training Webinars
For the week of June 22-26
The week's schedule is  here   (PDF)

To watch FEMA’s on-demand videos anytime, visit the  Grants Portal-Grants Manager YouTube Channel
Next League Local Government 101 Webinar is June 26 - Register today!

The League’s 1-day workshop provides a basic framework for governing to both new city and village officials and those who want to brush up on their knowledge of local governance. 

• Organization & Powers of Cities and Villages
• Recognizing and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
• Budgeting & Financial Oversight
• Procedures for Local Government Meetings
• Managing Public Works Activities

The June 26 one-day workshop will be provided as a webinar - with more dates possible. Participants who opt for the online webinar version have the option to take the course all in one day or mix and match the four different modules during any of our offered webinar dates over a 12 month period following their registration - it's likely that more dates will be added. In addition to the online training, participants will have the option of receiving a hard copy workbook or a USB version.  The cost of the program is $70 per person. Details and Registration

Thanks to our sponsors!
2020 Census
There's another push underway to get people to fill out the census!

Wisconsin's WOW counties lead nation in filling out census forms
In fact, the top three counties in the nation to self-report their census information are in southeast Wisconsin, the so-called WOW counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. 

Wow, indeed.

Ozaukee County leads the United States with 81.6% of households reporting their census information, followed by Washington County at 81.4% and Waukesha at 81.2%. Read the article... Click here to share this article from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipalities.

  • National League of Cities Census Toolkit with information including posters that you can download and customize for your community.
Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction issues guidance on a safe return to in-person instruction
Education Forward contains scenarios and considerations for safely and successfully reopening Wisconsin schools.
We appreciate your patience!
The League’s attorneys are fielding an unusually large number of inquiries while, at the same time, needing to dedicate a substantial amount of our time to meetings and participating in training sessions for local officials. Consequently, you may experience a delay in response to legal inquiries. We appreciate your patience and will respond to your inquiry as soon as we can. Claire Silverman and Maria Davis
Reminder - PSC Votes to End Moratorium on Charging Late Fees for Utility Delinquencies  

The Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously on June 11 to lift a moratorium on disconnections and other penalties that was put in place following executive orders issued by Gov. Tony Evers in March.

Municipal utilities will be allowed to again charge late fees for debts incurred after July 15, to require proof of identity and residency and to require a cash deposit for service starting July 31. 
Reminder - COVID-19: CARES Act Provider Payments
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is accepting applications from specific types of health care providers to receive pandemic relief funds. These funds are meant to offset losses and expenses incurred during March, April, and May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds for these payments were provided to the State under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Included in the list of five different recipient categories are:

4) Emergency Medical Service Agencies

More information here .
Planning for the Future
League of Wisconsin Municipalities Tool Kit for Implementing Municipal Safer at Home Restrictions

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down DHS’s Emergency Order 28, Safer at Home, as invalid and unenforceable on May 13, local governments were presented with the question of whether to adopt and enforce local safer at home restrictions to quell the spread of COVID-19 within their communities and to ensure local health facilities have adequate capacity for dealing with COVID patients.

Municipalities without a health department must abide by any safer at home restrictions imposed by the county health officer. If the county health officer has not issued a county safer at home order, municipal policymakers have the discretion to issue safer at home orders to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19 within their communities, pursuant to their emergency powers under Ch. 323. While m ost communities as of early summer 2020 have decided not to enact local safer at home orders, the League has prepared this Local Safer at Home Tool Kit in case circumstances change in the future and local policymakers become interested in adopting safer at home orders to address a surge in COVID-19 cases within their community. The Toolkit explains municipal authority to adopt and implement safer at home restrictions, includes sample local safer at home orders, and provides links to county level COVID -19 data and metrics to support local safer at home orders. Access the League's tool kit .
Reminder - Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association Monitoring Pool Closures
WPRA has created an  online document  to monitor pool closures across the state. Pool closures are based on many factors including government restrictions, financial projections, public perception and above all the health and safety of Wisconsin communities.
Examples of Wisconsin's Local Governments Innovating during Covid-19

Kaukauna's Temporary Outdoor Seating Area Permit (PDF) Not sure if this permit is the right one for your specific business? This document (PDF) will help guide you to the correct permit based on your business' location and licensure. Click here to comment or like this on the League's LinkedIn page.

Under the Streatery Program, Restaurants and Taverns may temporarily establish or expand outdoor seating in the following four ways as they recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Milwaukee's Active Streets for Businesses   is a no fee pilot program allowing restaurants and bars to apply to expand seating by using sidewalks, parking lanes, and travel lanes for outdoor dining while adhering to physical distancing. Apply starting June 17 at  http://milwaukee.gov/dpw

Wauwatosa's  "   Common Council approved the "Tosa Restarts" program as a way to expedite review and approval processes for a variety of activities. The goal is to generate vibrancy within Wauwatosa’s commercial districts, as well as eliminate or reduce fees where allowed. Normally, these activities would require a board approval. Following the submission of an application, city staff will review and provide appropriate approvals within 72 hours or less."   Tosa Restarts Temporary Regulatory Relief Program    (PDF)

More resources will be posted to the League's Small Businesses and Downtowns Covid-19 page  here   If you have a resource to share, please send a link to the program to Gail Sumi at  gsumi@lwm-info.org Thanks!
In the News
Judge halts Racine's COVID-19 restrictions, citing strike down of state Safer at Home order
A Racine County Circuit Court judge on Friday afternoon issued a temporary halt to Racine’s COVID-19 restrictions.

That means the city can no longer enforce its restrictions at this time, per the court order.

Judge Jon Fredrickson issued the temporary injunction order while a civil suit against the city and Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox by David Yandel, the owner of Harbor Park CrossFit, 3801 Blue River Ave., works its way through the court system.

“The defendants are temporarily enjoined from enforcing the Forward Racine order, and enacting any other orders pursuant to administrator Bowersox’s exercise of general powers to issue general orders of general application under Wisconsin statute 252.03,” Fredrickson said. Read the article... (We will provide more information on this when we have it.)

'Unprecedented times': Three young people of color bring life lessons to Milwaukee leadership posts
Crowley, 34, was  sworn into office  weeks after  Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson , 31, and City of Milwaukee  Common Council President Cavalier "Chevy" Johnson , 33, were elected by their peers. They now hold the top seats in the city and county along with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who won a fifth term in April....

When Johnson was elected president, he told fellow Common Council members he had lived at more addresses than he could count and experienced "all of the love and the pain that 53206 and other distressed ZIP codes can muster." 

That included substandard housing, family violence, gun violence, food scarcity, eviction, theft and threat of death, Johnson said. Read the article... Click here to comment, like or share this article from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipality's page.

Commission Gives Final OK To Mailing Out 2.7M Absentee Ballot Applications
The state will mail out 2.7 million voters absentee ballot applications under a plan given final approval Wednesday by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Members of the commission, which is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, voted 6-0 to go ahead with the mailing despite a last-ditch effort by a Republican state lawmaker to stop it. Read the article... Click here to comment, like or share this article to your own or your municipality's page.
The June 2020 League's The Municipality magazine is focused on New Officials and includes articles on leadership, dealing with the "The Outlier" on your governing body, additional costs associated with the pandemic, important legal distinctions that make governing different from running a business and much more.

Read it online here... The E-Muni, the electronic deep dive into the magazine, will be sent before the end of the month.
Frequently Asked Questions f rom the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters c an be accessed here .
ICYMI - Access Additional Resources through UniverCity

"The state of local government is up in the air with all the uncertainty of COVID-19. Wouldn't it be nice to have a partner helping you think through how your locality will bounce back? It could mean a revised economic development plan, or an improved mechanism for communicating with citizens or localities, or rethinking how county services will be offered, or how to think differently about tourism in this uncertain time. 
UniverCity Year is a flexible three-year partnership where local governments pitch ideas to UW-Madison, and they match you with courses and resources on campus that help you think through your approach to those issues. It could be COVID-19 response, or affordable housing, or water quality/nutrient management, or parks/recreation. We are willing to be flexible to adapt to this new reality, so your projects don't have to be fully formed. If you'd like to talk more about your options or questions, reach out to Gavin Luter, gavin@cows.org , Managing Director of the Program. 

To see deliverables for projects in places like Monona, Brodhead, Durand, Monroe, and Stockholm, see  https://univercity.wisc.edu/ucy/
The application is HERE ."
Reminder - Wondering what municipalities across the United States are doing?

Mayor's Innovation Project Live City Response Feed

"Our live city response feed provides you with a curated list from around the country, making it quick and easy to access the most relevant ideas for city leaders. Submit your own innovative policies here ." To see the city responses so far: 
Wisconsin Connect Covid-19 Resource

Looking for a great public health supported Covid-19 resource to share with your community? Wisconsin Connect has information in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Chinese Mandarin. Information is updated frequently and is brought to you in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

  • Let's Talk - Share your thoughts or ask a question.
  • ALL ABOUT COVID-19 - Risks, symptoms, testing, isolation, recovery, and more
  • Covid-19 Fact Checker - Don't know what to believe. Find the facts.
  • Prevent and Protect - Up to date advice for keeping yourself, your family, and your community safe.
  • Calming
  • Resource Center
  • Coping - Job loss, handling kids, worry, conflict, grief ... and more

Connect to these resources here . Click here to share it from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipality's page. You can also download the photo and post it as a link on your municipality's Covid Resource page.

This is a project funded by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.
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...
Webinars and Training
Next League Local Government 101 Webinar is June 26 - Register today!

Thanks to our sponsors!

Webinar participants have the option to take the course all in one day or mix and match the four different modules during any of our offered webinar dates over a 12 month period following their registration - we're likely to add more webinar dates. In addition to the online training, participants will have the option of receiving a hard copy workbook or a USB version. The cost of the program is $70 per person. Details and Registration

Avoiding Common Mistakes
The League in partnership with   League Mutual   (LWMMI)
July 8 - 9:00 - 4:00 with an hour break for lunch - Webinar

Attendance is  free   for League members insured by LWMMI; for League members not insured by LWMMI, the League has reduced its usual one-day training registration fee to $50. 

What will you learn?
These sessions will focus on scenarios inspired by real-life examples to illustrate how controversial decisions, compounded by poor municipal governance, can quickly spin out of control. 

League attorneys, Claire Silverman and Maria Davis, will provide an overview of the legal framework governing body members must use when making decisions and explore how deviating from that framework can expose municipalities to liability, damage the municipality’s reputation, and hijack the municipal agenda. 

On the HR side of things, Lisa Bergersen of EngageHR Law, LLC will help attendees navigate a number of human resources and employment law compliance issues that come up with some frequency including wage and hour, harassment/discrimination/bullying, family and medical leave laws, and social media. Lisa will also cover best practices in areas such as handbooks, workplace safety, counseling/discipline/terminations, and documentation.  Details and registration

SAVE THE DATE for the League's Chief Executives Workshop
August 25, 26, 27 - 11:30 - 1:30 each day - Webinar
We'll be providing three engaging webinars. Each will include a panel discussion, time for questions and a roundtable. Details to be announced soon!
The League’s  June 2020 E-Newsletter  
with Opportunities, Events, Grants & Training For You 
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 - Only ONE more Local Gov 101 program is being provided as a webinar. Details here .

League's Chief Executive's Workshop will be provided as a series of webinars. Please stay tuned for the details.

League's Municipal Attorneys Institute has been Rescheduled to September 2-4 at Stone Harbor in Sturgeon Bay! Registration will open later in June.

Decisions about the other upcoming programs 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... 
League Handbooks

The following Handbooks are now available as a PDF at a reduced price for email delivery.

  • Handbook for Wisconsin Municipal Officials - PDF Available!
  • Handbook for Wisconsin Police and Fire Commissioners - Completely updated in Jan. 2019.  PDF Available!
  • Municipal Licensing and Regulation of Alcohol Beverages - Completely updated in Sept. 2019. PDF Available!

Physical PRINT copies of ALL Handbooks are also still available but on a delayed weekly shipping basis.    You can order Handbooks online here .
General Resources
Wisconsin 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. 

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: