Yesterday, Raleigh held its first-ever virtual City Council meetings. Thank you to the staff who worked hard to make sure we could meet safely, and thank you to everyone who watched remotely. Below is a summary of the meetings.
1. We received a COVID-19 update. As of April 6, there were 317 confirmed cases in Wake County. Unfortunately, a surge of hospitalizations is expected by mid-April. The City Manager has taken several steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including closing all city buildings to the public (including the Municipal Building/City Hall), obtaining PPE for first responders and other departments such as solid waste services, transit, and water, postponing events permits, closing performance venues, and scaling back certain city services (trash and recycling pickup will remain, and transit is running on a reduced schedule).
2. The Office of Economic Development and Innovation provided an overview of resources available to small businesses in response to COVID-19. The office is working hard to get those resources to the 33,400 small businesses within the city. They are hosting calls two times a week on topics businesses have identified as important, such as how to navigate the loan application process. The office is also working closely with community partners and the Raleigh Chamber. Additional resources can be found on the City of Raleigh Economic Development page and the Raleigh Chamber response page.
3. We voted unanimously to provide $100,000 in emergency assistance to families and hourly workers living in hotels whose earnings have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Passage Home and Triangle Family Services will each receive $50,000 to facilitate the necessary assistance.
4. We voted unanimously to increase the consumption capacity of our residential water rates. We are aware that more users are staying home and (hopefully) washing their hands more regularly, and as a result, we increased the capacity limits so individuals are not penalized for using more water during this time. Note, we previously suspended all water shutoffs for nonpayment and reinstated any service that was terminated prior to the pandemic.
5. We canceled all meetings for the remainder of the month. Our next regularly-scheduled council meetings will occur Tuesday, May 5, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Information about how those meetings will occur will be posted in the next few weeks.
6. During Reports from Mayor and Council Members, Council Member Nicole Stewart announced that the Mayor and all members of City Council are making donations to three nonprofits working to provide COVID-19 relief to the community: Oak City Cares, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and NC Restaurant Worker Relief Fund. We are offering to match all gifts made up to $6,500 by April 17, 2020 with hope that our efforts will inspire others, who are able, to give. A big thank you to Council Member Stewart for organizing our efforts.
You can make a donation here.
I said this during my council report, but I want to reiterate here, that though our meetings are suspended, I promise to remain engaged with you and accessible to you throughout this pandemic. If you have questions, or if I can connect you with resources please email email@example.com.