During a very short, virtual meeting, Philadelphia City Council passed legislation that gives an $85 million boost to the City’s coronavirus fighting efforts.
By Denise Clay
During a short meeting held virtually, Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to transfer $85 million to the city’s General Fund to help city officials fight the coronavirus. The money will be going to the Managing Director’s office for use by various departments currently working to make sure that the pandemic doesn’t do to Philadelphia what it has done to various cities around the country from both the healthcare and economic perspective.
“These are extraordinary times,” Council President Darrell Clarke said. “The crisis we are facing brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Every part of our economy is going to feel the impact of these months of sheltering-in-place. Just as the stimulus plan at the federal level is believed to be the first of many steps on a long road to our nation’s recovery, what Council voted on today is just the beginning of what we will need to do to help our residents, small businesses, and other organizations rebuild after this pandemic.”
As of press time, Philadelphia has 2,100 people battling the coronavirus. There have also been 17 deaths. Nine of the victims lived in nursing homes and 80% of them were over the age of 70.
The meeting was approximately 20 minutes long and about 15 people — including Clarke, Michael Decker, the city’s Chief Clerk, a Sergeant-at-Arms, the council stenographer and a sign language interpreter — were actually in Council chambers for the meeting. Everyone else participated virtually using Microsoft Teams, and public comment was received via telephone.
The stay at home and social distancing mandates issued by Mayor Jim Kenney and Gov. Tom Wolf mean that this might be the way that Council meetings are held for the foreseeable future, Clarke said. Thus, to make sure that the state’s Sunshine Laws are upheld, you can go to this link: http://phlcouncil.com/offering-public-comment-at-council-sessions-temp.
You can call 215-686-3406 to register to make public comments on legislation that will be taken up after Council returns on April 16 at 10a.m.
Council is also looking for ways to hold virtual hearings on the city’s budget, which must be put in place by June 30, officials said. In other news, businesses hoping to get a waiver allowing them to operate in Pennsylvania during the coronavirus stay at home order have until Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m. to apply for one.