As the novel coronavirus rages on, Denver City Council on Monday night is expected to pass a bill that will move $10 million in contingency funds into a special revenue fund that will support coronavirus expenses.
The money will be used for the purchasing of certain services and supplies, such as deep cleaning and personal protective equipment; personnel services, including overtime; and capital purchases, such as extra beds and even new facilities.
The city is also expected to greenlight a bill that would set aside $4 million for business owners hardest hit by the coronavirus. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the emergency relief fund in a press conference on March 19.
The bill moves $2 million from contingency and $1.5 million from the Business Investment Fund to create a new fund for business support at a total of $3.5 million.
Julie Smith, spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Finance, said the remaining $500,000 will come from funds already budgeted for business support, mainly the Denver microloan program, as well as from redistributed money from other areas within the Denver Office of Economic Development.
The council will also approve the donation of surplus personal Dell computers from the city to PCs for People, a nonprofit organization. The computers are intended for low-income families with a focus on seniors, families with school-age children or those in need of remote health services who require assistance during the coronavirus emergency.
The computers were previously used by city employees for normal city operations and have now “reached end of life for city business purposes,” according to city documents.
By donating the equipment, the city also saves roughly $5,000 in recycling costs.
Additionally, the city will introduce two new coronavirus-related bills, both of which were direct filed.
The first would renew an agreement with Insight Public Sector for nearly $3.8 million to continue using Microsoft software licenses, such as Office 365, as well as patches, enhancements, and new releases for the products that will enable city employees to continue to work remotely as part of the Denver’s COVID-19 response.
“Right now, we have more city employees working remotely than probably in the entire history of Denver combined,” said Council President Jolon Clark. “If something were to lapse, it presents issues from a technology standpoint in terms of us being able to allow our city employees to continue working from home at a good distance from other people.
“That’s something that, normally, you wouldn’t think of as a real critical type of contract, but it became critical because of the timing and everything that’s happened,” he said.
The city also will introduce a bill that adds $2 million to Denver’s Small Business Emergency Relief Program as part of its COVID-19 response. The bill amends a contract with Mile High United Way for a new total of roughly $2.2 million that will be dispersed to local businesses hardest hit by the virus.
Small business can apply for up to $7,500 to mitigate economic impacts resulting from COVID-19. The program is anticipated to be in place for four months, beginning in March and running through June.