Piqua CARES funds total over $2M

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission heard an update from finance director Cynthia Holtzapple Tuesday regarding the CARES Act funding received by the city, which totals $2,064,142.02 to date.

According to Holtzapple, $7,000 of this has been used for the purchase of personal protective equipment throughout the city. This includes things like face masks and gloves.

Around $30,000 has gone toward improvements of telework capabilities for public employees and IT, Holtzapple said, which includes the purchase of laptops and other teleworking supplies.

A total of $130,000 went toward public health expenses. According to documents obtained from the city of Piqua, these expenses went toward efforts to increase sanitizing, allow for and assist with social distancing, and “quarantine measures.”

Holtzapple said $220,000 of the funds went toward payroll for public health employees, and $1,675,000 was used for payroll and benefits for “safety” employees.

According to Holtzapple, to date, the city has received all grant funding it is expected to receive and all funds have been exhausted.

Holtzapple addressed a concern that with no additional funding expected in the near future, the city will be unable to continue to pay for COVID-related expenses as it has been.

“Certainly, our goal is to maintain current staffing, so that’s why we used a significant amount of this (funding) to ensure that hopefully going into this year we can do that,” Holtzapple said. “A lot of the departments have looked at their needs for the next three to six months, in terms of equipment, cleaning supplies and that type of thing, so we are prepared to hopefully not have the type of expenses in those areas that we’ve had.”

Holtzapple added that some of the items paid for by the CARES funding were one-time expenses, such as new laptops and telework capabilities to allow employees to work remotely from home.

“If other grants are not available, we’ll certainly have to scrutinize where we expend any city funds going forward,” she said.

Mayor Kris Lee noted the possibility of receiving additional funds that may allow the city to provide much-needed assistance to businesses, including small businesses, throughout the city.