|March 27, 2020
OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the most important things you need to know from this past week:
- As of Friday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reports 1,137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths along with 276 hospitalizations and 107 in the intensive care unit. Columbiana, Erie, Gallia, Summit and Trumbull counties all sadly have one confirmed COVID-19 fatality, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, Mahoning and Stark countries sadly havetwo confirmed fatalities and Miami County sadly has four confirmedfatalities.
- A new federal mandate states that all municipal facilities must post this flyer, attached HERE, to alert their workers of the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) sickleave policy. The National League of Cities (NLC) hosted a webinar on this topic, which you can read more about below.
- The Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association (OMAA) has released an overview of the new Open Meeting requirements created by Sub. H.B. 197, the emergency COVID-19 legislative response signed into law by Gov. DeWine this afternoon. The overview includes directionon how hearings, public participation and notices are addressed in the new state Open Meeting guidelines. You can read it in full HERE.
- Gov. Mike DeWine, House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) have announced that the governor's annual "State of the State" address, previously set for March 31, has been postponed until the end of the current stateof emergency.
U.S. CONGRESS PASSES CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL
The U.S. Congress has passed H.R. 748, a $2 trillion emergency relief bill to address the massive impact the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is having on all aspects of our country, from our economy to the sustainability of our communities. President Trump signed the bill shortly after it was passed
Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the National League of Cities (NLC), the legislation provides a number of measures to directly help the nation's municipalities. We also want to thank all our members who contacted their federally-elected officials urging them to support cities during this time of crisis.
Here are some of the provisions in the bill that will have an impact on cities and villages.
- State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: $139 billion will be distributed between statesand local governments. Municipalities with a population exceeding 500,000 will receive direct distributions, while cities and villages below that population threshold will receive federal financial support through distributions made to state governments.
- The funds may only be used for "necessary expenditures" related to COVID-19incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020.
- This funding is not revenue replacement funding. We are hopeful that funding will be in the fourth recovery bill that Congress is expected to introducesoon.
- Each state will be allocated a minimum of $1.25 billion to be prorated bypopulation.
- Municipal Bonds: Allocates $454 billion for the "Economic Stabilization Fund" andallows the purchase of municipal securities with maturities greater than 6 months in the secondary market.
- This fund also provides loans and loan guarantees to small businesses, so not all$454 billion will be used for the purchase of municipal securities.
- Transit Funding: $25 billion is allocated in Transit Infrastructure Grants for transit providers, primarily led by local governments, for operating and capital expenses. The FTA is directedto release these funds within 7 days of the bill'senactment.
- Housing and Community Development: $5 billion is allocated for Community Development BlockGrants.
- $2 billion will be given directly to states and local governments through theregular program formula.
- $1 billion will be given to thestates.
- The remaining $2 billion will be allocated by the U.S. Housing and UrbanDevelopment Agency (HUD) to state and local governments based onneed.
- The 15% services cap is suspended so that grantees may spend additional fundson assistance to low-incomehouseholds.
- Homeless Funding: $4 billion is allocated for Homeless AssistanceGrants.
- $2 billion will be allocated by HUD to state and local governments based onneed.
- $2 billion will be allocated by formula to currentgrantees
- Disaster Assistance: $45 billion is allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund for the immediate needs of state and local governments. Reimbursable activities may include medicalresponse, personal protective equipment, National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, safety measures and communityservices.
- The bill also allocates $100 million in Emergency Management Performance Grantsto state and local governments to support coordination, communications and logistics.
- Commerce: Allocates $1.5 billion for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAA) to be given to state and local entities for technical assistance and planning for public works and infrastructure in regions experiencing adverse economicchanges.
- Direct Payments: Individuals will receive $1,200 while married couples would receive $2,400 with an additional $500 for each child under age17.
- Payments phase out for those making more than$75,000.
- People making over $99,000 aredisqualified.
- Thresholds for couples aredoubled.
- Unemployment Insurance: The federal government will give unemployed workers $600a week for 4 months on top of statebenefits.
- The bill also calls for a new pandemic unemployment assistance program toprovide jobless benefits to those who don't traditionally qualify.
- Loans: The Treasury Department can provide $500 billion in loans, loan guaranteesand investments that will be monitored by a congressional oversightcommission.
- $454 billion is earmarked for loans to businesses, states andmunicipalities.
- Foreclosures, Evictions and Food Assistance: The bill protects those facing financialhardships due to COVID-19 from foreclosure and evictions by granting those individuals forbearance without fees, penalties or additional interest on federally backed mortgages for 60 days or more.
- Federally backed mortgages cannot be foreclosed for 60 days starting March18.
- Additionally, $450 million is allocated for the Emergency Food Assistance Program and provides additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Child NutritionProgram.
are grateful for the work NLC has done on Capital Hill to help ensure the federal government allocates funds to help the cities and villages that are on the front lines of the ongoing coronavirus response.
can read a full summary of the bill
OML AND NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES (NLC) RELEASE COVID-19 RESPONSE SURVEY DATA
The League sent a poll to our mayors and city managers to gauge how they are responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 161 of our members responded. We want to thank all our members who took the time to answer and will continue to survey our members on the continued impacts of the coronavirus on our cities and villages. Below is a sampling of the responses to a few of the questions.
To control the spread of the virus:
- 83% have closed public facilities such as recreation centers, libraries,etc.;
- 29% have declared a health emergency;
- 31% have encouraged employers to require employees to work remotely;
- 7% are incentivizing or mandating employers to provide emergency paid sick leaveor alternatives;and,
- 28% responded "other", including conducting business online or by phone andpracticing social distancing among employees in offices.
To help stabilize at-risk residents in the face of fiscal decline:
- 78% are temporarily stopping utilityshut-offs;
- 26% are funding or coordinating food or medicine delivery to vulnerablepopulations, including school meal replacement;
- 8% are providing internet access to households or neighborhoods with pooraccess;
- 7% have enacted temporary eviction bans, mortgage payment suspensions orother financial supports to individuals andfamilies;
- 1% are providing access to credit or other financial support to landlords/property managers;
- 22% responded "other", including waiving late utility fees and institutingconsistent checks on at-risk constituents.
In response to the economic and fiscal impacts of the virus for the next six months:
- 41% may draw down reserves;
- 28% may cut or decrease services;
- 17% may cut or decrease personnel;
- 4% may raise fees for services;
- 3% may raise taxes;and,
- 9% responded "other", including reviewing all purchases and reducing expenses.
You can read the survey results in their entirety
The National League of Cities (NLC) also conducted similar survey of 326 local officials and city managers across the U.S. Their survey found that:
- 50% expect to draw downreserves;
- 37% expect to cut or decreaseservices
- 24% expect to cut or decreasepersonnel;
- 6% expect to raise fees for services;and,
- 5% expect to raise taxes and 3% expect to delay bond or pensionpayments.
Additionally, in a poll conducted by Morning Consult,
the NLC asked
over 2,200 Americans
where they stand on the difficult decisions being made by local leaders in their cities. Below are several key findings from the survey:
- 82% of Americanssupportclosing public facilities;
- 83% of Americans supportbanning/cancelling large gatherings;
- 78% of Americanssupportclosing restaurants and bars;
- 84% of Americans supportencouraging employers to require employees to work remotely;
- 85% of Americans supportmandating employers to provide emergency paid sick leave;and,
- 86% of Americans supportthe federal government providing funds directly to cities and towns to support coronavirus challenges in local communities.
as strong. The positive
response to coronavirus is as follows:
- Forlocal governments - 52%
- For state governments - 55%
- For the federal government - 47%
Below is a chart breaking down the data collected from the survey. You can also read the survey in its entirety HERE
According to the data, local governments have the support of the American people across party lines as they make difficult decisions to protect the residents of their communities. We will continue to keep our members apprised of how local government are responding to the crisis, both across the state and across the nation.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES (NLC) RESOURCES FOR LOCAL LEADERS DURING CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
The National League of Cities (NLC) and Bloomberg Philanthropies have launched the
COVID-19: Local Action Tracker,
which you can access HERE, to help local leaders navigate this crisis. The tracker will collect and share the policy actions and best practices city leaders are taking across the nation to ensure all communities can access information and ideas that can help them lead through the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we previously referenced, the National League of Cities (NLC) hosted a webinar entitled "What Cities Need to Know About Implementing Changes to Paid Sick Leave and Family and Medical Leave", covering the changes brought about by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Because Ohio's municipalities are employers, they will need to implement the
new provisions by April 1, 2020.
Our members can access the recorded webinar on the NLC Coronavirus Resource Page, which you can access
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF OHIO (PUCO) GRANTS HOUR-OF-SERVICE RELIEF FOR CERTAIN DRIVERS
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has taken action to extend temporary relief from the hours-of-service requirements for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles transporting consumer goods, medical supplies, gasoline, diesel, propane, heating oil and waste within the state of Ohio.
The drivers are to keep a copy of the attached notice in each vehicle affected by the relief. You can access the notice
Customers are encouraged to contact the PUCO Transportation Department with questions regarding this matter or other utility related questions at (614) 466-0369 or at
Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings
April 2, 2020 11:00 am ~ 12:00 pm
"Drugs, Cancer, PTSD & the New Workers' Comp Reality