May 11, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #33
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
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What's taking Wisconsin Supreme Court so long to rule on Safer at Home lawsuit? Read the CBS58 articl e...

We are awaiting the Court's decision. Once it is issued, League Attorneys will provide information via a League-EL using this mailing list for distribution.
The League's first Local Gov 101 Webinar is May 15!
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. In addition to the online training, participants will have the option of receiving a hard copy workbook or a USB version.  Details and Registration
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

NOTE - Schedule change to Thursday!

Tuesday, May 12 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.
US Senator Ron Johnson

Join Zoom Meeting

Or Dial 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 943 2945 2289
Password: 990365


Thursday, May 14 - 9:00-10 a.m.
Tom Diehl, President Tommy Bartlett, Inc. & Lake Delton Village Board Member

Join Zoom Meeting


Dial 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 919 6078 3036
Password: 990365


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.
NEW - REOPEN GUIDELINES by industry or type of business from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
"With input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with the  Wisconsin Department of Health Services , the  Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) , the  Wisconsin Department of Tourism  and our regional economic development partners, WEDC has compiled a series of industry-specific documents to help you get back to business while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. Following these guidelines will help us all get Wisconsin’s economy back on track.

You are encouraged to bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates to guidelines and the addition of new industry documents."

Click here to share the Guidelines from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipalities page.
Breaking News via Wispolitics

-- Gov. Tony Evers today (May 11) announced small retailers can now reopen, the latest relaxation of his stay-at-home order dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some small shops had balked at seeing big-box retailers continue to operate while they had been forced to shut down since March 25. The new order allows all standalone or strip-mall retail stores to offer in-person shopping, but with a limit of five customers in the store at a time.
The new order, which goes into effect immediately, also allows drive-in movie theaters to open.
See the release:
NEW - Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association Monitoring Pool Closures
WPRA has created an  online document  to monitor pool closures across the state, as of Monday, May 11th, 65 agencies have provided data. Pool closures are based on many factors including government restrictions, financial projections, public perception and above all the health and safety of Wisconsin communities. On a poll of 42 agencies conducted May 1st, half had not yet decided whether or not they will be opening at all this Summer, approximately 25% intend to make that decision this month (in May). 
NEW - League's Best Practices for Virtual Meetings Webinar Available
The League’s free May 6, 2020 webinar discussing best practices for virtual meetings will help you review the basic open meeting requirements as they apply in a virtual meeting, along with etiquette, communication tips and a discussion of various software platforms.

Thank you to our panelists! Sarah Edgerton, CIO, Director of Information Technology, City of Madison, Nathan Thiel, Village Administrator, Village of Pleasant Prairie, and Jim Healy, Village Administrator, Village of Richfield.
The archived webinar is available  here .
Take Action! From the National League of Cities Action Alert :

"We are concerned that the CARES Act, and the Coronavirus Relief Fund authorized under the bill, does not address the necessary increases in spending, or the unavoidable shortfall in revenues, faced by the vast majority of local governments. It is appropriate and necessary for Congress to approve emergency appropriations for direct local budget relief for every city and town, not only for those over 500,000 in population as in the CARES Act, or for entitlement cities over 50,000 as is the case for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula grants. 
 
The National League of Cities sent a letter to House and Senate leadership to advance a fourth emergency appropriations package to address the immediate need for local budget relief by making direct emergency funding available to every city and town in need, regardless of population.  The letter can be accessed here .   

We call on Congress to include:  
 
  • Direct supports for local governments 
  • Infrastructure measures to quicken economic stabilization and recovery efforts 
  • Measures to expand opportunities for job security, economic mobility, and the health and well-being of our residents 

 
Please take action by sending a tweet to your members of Congress or reaching out to them directly via phone or email with  NLC’s letter .
It's here! Creative Economy Week is May 9-16
Brought to you by the League in partnership with Arts Wisconsin.


Click here to learn more on the Arts Wisconsin website.
Municipalities Looking to the Future

Green Bay would start Conservation Corps to employ laid-off residents as part of $600,000 coronavirus relief plan
The city wants to use almost $600,000 in federal coronavirus aid to help nonprofits working with employees in high-risk jobs and to fund a "conservation corps" to put temporarily unemployed residents to work.  
Those are two of five main uses the city has proposed in a plan that goes to Green Bay's Redevelopment Authority for review Tuesday. The plan also includes money for homeless assistance, a revolving loan fund and the city's four Business Improvement Districts.  Read the Green Bay Gazette article...


City of La Crosse prepares for 'major' recession; furloughs and layoffs possible
The city of La Crosse is preparing to battle an unprecedented recession in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, approving a preliminary task force and plan for the coming months and years.

The “Economic Recession Plan” that the Finance and Personnel Committee approved on Thursday night outlines five stages of a recession, and officials said the city is on the brink of the fourth stage, or a “major recession.”

“We’re losing a lot of sleep over our situation,” said Valerie Fenske, the city’s director of finance and human resources.

The city’s finance department is currently forecasting a revenue shortfall of about $5.9 million toward the city’s general fund, which is a deficit of 8.65% in revenue for 2020. Read the La Crosse Tribune article...


Implementation of the City of River Falls “Crushing COVID-19: A guide to recovery” will follow guidance and direction from the State of Wisconsin and public health officials throughout its response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s Badger Bounce Back plan serves as a framework for this guide.  Review the plan...
Support for Businesses
Reminder - BCPL Funds can be used to create a small business support program.

BCPL can provide loans to municipalities for the purpose of providing grants or pass-through loans to businesses. It falls under the broad umbrella of economic development. 

If the municipal borrower decides to make a pass-through loan, the municipality is able to make the loan to the local business on terms that are different than the terms of the trust fund loan from BCPL to the municipality. The municipality can charge a premium or discounted interest rate. The municipality can set a different maturity date and amortization schedule or require collateral or personal guarantees. The municipality could also design a pass-through loan that was forgivable if certain targets were met (jobs saved or created, improvements added to the tax rolls, etc.). This would turn part or all of the pass-through loan into a grant. As we’ve discussed before, the flexibility of the program allows the municipality to use its creativity to meet the specialized needs of the community.

The loans can be prepaid without penalty (most of the year) and if needed, BCPL has the ability to refinance the loan out over a longer period of time if the economic development project does not yield the expected increase in revenues for the municipality.

Contact BCPL here. (Note that they are short staffed. There may be a delayed reply.)
REMINDER - COVID-19 Business Resources
By the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

“This page is designed to provide the latest, best information to our clients and the citizens of Wisconsin on resources aimed at maintaining the vitality of the companies upon which our economy depends. As the volume of inquiries through our phone lines and website prevents us from responding individually to people as we would like, we invite you to visit this page regularly. We plan to update this directory as new information and resources become available.”

You can click here to share this information from the League's Facebook page to your own. Or go directly to their website here .
Additional Resources on the League's Covid-19 Downtown and Small Businesses page.
POLICY ISSUES
Frequently Asked Questions f rom the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters have been updated and c an be accessed here .
Financing
NEW - USDA Rural Development Opportunities

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. Click  Opportunities for Relief  for more details.
NEW - AARP Wisconsin's “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grants , which will be awarded to projects designed to improve a community and make it a better place for everyone to live, work, and play as they age. Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded once a month from June through November of 2020. The grant amount could be a portion of or the total cost for the project. All projects must be completed within 60 days from winner announcement. First Application deadline is May 18 COB. Details here .
Elections
As absentee voting grows, legislation would allow easier tally
According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, 1,098,489 absentee ballots were returned in April’s Presidential Primary Election. That’s compared with 819,316 in the November 2016 Presidential Election.

With the increasing numbers of absentee ballots posing challenges for poll workers, a bill is pending in the legislature to more efficiently process them, according to Curt Witynski, deputy director for the Wisconsin League of Municipalities.

Wisconsin’s election system is not set up for nearly exclusive absentee voting, with approximately 74 percent of ballots mailed in in April, Witynski said.

“Clerks are not allowed to count these as the come in,” he said. Read the Waunakee Tribune article...
How to Request an Absentee Ballot by the Village of Marathon City
Want to encourage voting by Absentee Ballot?

The Village of Marathon City created two videos to help their residents understand the process. You can watch their videos on their YouTube Channel here .

Thanks to Administrator Andy Kurtz for providing the scripts so that you can create your own.



The Absentee Ballot Process Behind the Scenes (Word Document) Soon to be in production.
Federal
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Basics of Applying for FEMA Reimbursement PPT presentation (presented by Eric Learn on the League's May 5 Roundtable call)

Additional Guidance and Fact Sheets in this April 15, 2020 email from Wisconsin Emergency Management.

Examples of Guidance:

ACCESSIBLE COMMUNICATION THROUGH CATEGORY B EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE MEASURES
Under Category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities can request assistance for providing communications of general health and safety information to the public. Expenses associated with making those communications accessible and effective for the whole community, including people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, and others with access and functional needs, may also be
eligible for assistance as Category B emergency protective measures. Fact Sheet .

Public Assistance Donated Resources
Individuals and organizations often donate resources to assist with response and recovery activities. FEMA does not provide PA funding for donated resources. However, FEMA allows Applicants to use the value of donated resources (non-cash contributions of property or services)2 related to eligible Emergency Work to offset the non-Federal cost share of its eligible Emergency Work Project Worksheets (PW) and DFA; and to use the value of donated resources related to eligible work on a Permanent Work project to offset the non-Federal cost share of that specific Permanent Work PW. Guidance .

Additional information, including templates for tracking expenses are on the League's State and Federal Assistance Resource Page .
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security
(CARES) Act
NEW - Treasury Issues More Detailed FAQ
 
The US Treasury Department released an updated FAQ document for the Coronavirus Relief Fund on May 4.


Information on State and Federal Assistance including FEMA and the CARES Act is on the League's COVID-19 website here .
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is on the League's website on the Employees page here.
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
Opportunity
NEW - Now might be the time to 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 ."
NEW - 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: 
 
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...
Webinars and Training
League’s Local Government 101 program now offered as webinars

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. 
You’ll learn about city and village powers including municipal home rule, hear about how to recognize and avoid conflicts of interest, go home with a quick tutorial on municipal budgeting as well as how to run a meeting and finish with an overview on managing public works projects. In addition, you’ll have that age-old question answered: “what is a walking quorum anyway?”

We're adapting and have converted four of the one-day workshops into webinars - 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. 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
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.

***

When Revenues Fall Short – Weathering the COVID-19 Recession
UW Madison Extension’s Local Government Center
June 9, 2020, from 10:00 am to 11:30

Wisconsin municipal governments are already feeling the COVID 19 recession’s impact, and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Further, Retail and Main Street have taken an economic hit in our current environment. Non-essential businesses have lost sales and workers, and community leaders and economic development professionals are concerned about the future of local business districts. Room taxes and other revenues are significantly off across all sectors. This webinar will provide data and practical information on the potential revenue loss impacts on municipalities and how to anticipate and mitigate those impacts.

We bring together experts from Ehlers, KerberRose, the Wisconsin Policy Forum, and UW Madison Extension’s Community and Economic Development program, each of whom will provide data, practical advice, and potential solutions for local governments to consider as they deal with revenue shortfalls for 2020 and beyond.

Agenda details here .

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CENTER’S “ISSUES, CHALLENGES, AND STRATEGIES” WEBSITE PROMOTING THIS WEBINAR, including Registration information:
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 Local Gov 101 programs will be provided as webinars. Details here .

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

League's Municipal Attorneys Institute has been POSTPONED! Please stay tuned for details.

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. 

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: