A letter from the Prescott Mayor.
As we continue to approach the start of the gorgeous summer season here in Prescott, it continues to impress me watching our citizens and local businesses navigate through the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many frustrating days, but overall, we are seeing days with promise and hope. Governor Ducey continues to phase the re-opening of Arizona’s economy and Prescott is following suit. So many restaurants and small businesses have taken the negative aspects of their circumstances and turned them into positives and inventive new ways to do business. Our local governing bodies also continue their teamwork in helping guide the quad city areas and all of Yavapai County through this difficult season.
While our trails, lakes and parks remained open throughout the stay-home orders, we’ve now also been able to re-open playgrounds and public restrooms for the convenience of Prescott families. So many parents have reveled in the opportunity to have more quality time with their children despite the sometimes stressful moments of schools being closed, and seeing our parks and playgrounds full showcases this. In light of the distancing restrictions that have been associated with COVID-19, time in the great outdoors has made such a positive impact on everyone that has been able to take the time to enjoy what Prescott has to offer. In addition to reopening playgrounds and bathrooms, city staff has worked diligently to reopen city hall and satellite offices to the public once again. As you come to visit the community development department or utility billing you’ll see evidence of this with safety barriers and floor markings to help encourage the safety of city employees and the public. I am truly proud of the level of service that has continued through all of the uncertainty and the dedication of city staff in serving our community in new and unique ways.
As re-opening continues, it has been inspiring to once again see citizens enjoying an afternoon patio lunch or drink at our local restaurants and supporting our local economy. Restaurant owners are working hard to ensure social distancing and CDC cleaning requirements are maintained while welcoming their customers back. They are continuing to offer curbside pickup and delivery services, specialized menus for “family to-go meals”. While not all of our restaurants have yet been able to reopen it is my hope that by the end of summer everyone will have been able to navigate this pandemic and begin serving their loyal customers once again. In addition to restaurants reopening their doors, so many of our locally owned shops, salons, barbershops and gyms have also been able to welcome their customers back. Prescott is such a unique and vibrant community and the value its citizens hold for our small business owners is heartwarming and has never been more evident.
The Prescott community has a long history of coming together to get through times of crisis and stress, and that has been highlighted extensively during the last few months. We’ve remained strong, positive and showed grace to each other as everyone has navigated this unique and trying time. That perseverance has allowed us to come back step-by-step and continue to support each other as we look to the future. There are many good things to come. It is important to continue to be diligent, safe and respectful as reopening continues so that the positive progress continues. I have been and continue to be deeply proud of our beautiful hometown.
Mayor Greg Mengarelli
Arizona cities and counties will get access to nearly $600 million in COVID-19 relief funding.
Arizona cities and counties will get access to nearly $600 million in COVID-19 relief funding, part of the more than $1.8 billion awarded two months ago to Arizona under the federal CARES Act.
Larger jurisdictions received their funds directly from the federal government, but Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that the remaining cities and counties in the state will get $441 million directly, based on population. They will also have access to another $150 million in emergency relief funds.
“Our office has met with mayors and county leaders to hear directly how COVID-19 is impacting their communities, and this plan delivers for them,” said Ducey, during a roundtable with a half-dozen mayors and county officials from around the state.
“It maximizes flexibility and prioritizes getting dollars quickly to where they’re needed most,” he said. “Key points the plan is focused on are maximizing flexibility, minimizing red tape and getting needed relief funds to local communities faster.”
Ducey said the $441 million in the AZCares Fund should be in local governments’ hands as early as Thursday. The other $150 million that has been set aside for local governments will be held in the Arizona Express Pay Program, which will be used to expedite cities’ requests for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenses related to COVID-19.
The AZCares Fund payments range from $40,927 for the town of Winkelman to $29.6 million for Scottsdale, money that city officials had been saying is badly needed.
“Now more than ever it is so important that the CARES Act dollars are going to cities and towns because we are the ones at the front lines of this pandemic,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said before Wednesday’s announcement. “The sooner we get the CARES Act relief funds from the state, the sooner we can all work together to grow the economy.”
Counties and cities with more than 500,000 residents got funding directly from the federal government under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security – or CARES – Act, which was signed into law in late March. Some officials had started to complain recently about the lag in getting funds out to the state’s smaller jurisdictions.
In a letter Tuesday, Democratic Reps. Greg Stanton of Phoenix and Ann Kirkpatrick of Tucson called on Ducey to “immediately allocate resources to our communities on the frontlines of this crisis” saying that further delays would “cause irreparable harm to our long-term recovery efforts.”
“Communities across Arizona have been hit hard by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic,” their letter said. “With revenues plummeting and the unanticipated costs of the response to this crisis, our cities and towns need a lifeline now.”
But officials at Wednesday’s announcement were not complaining.
“The governor met with us. We told him about the importance of flexibility when allocating these dollars and he delivered,” Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy said. “With these dollars, Sahuarita and communities around the state will be better equipped to protect public health and get our businesses up and running more quickly.”
Payments from the AZCares Fund announced Wednesday range from $40,927 for Winkelman to $29.6 million for Scottsdale. There are no restrictions on how local governments can spend the money, with Ducey and the mayors saying that flexibility is important for those dollars to be put to the best use.
The other part of the local funding, the $150 million Arizona Express Pay Program, will be available to local and tribal governments, state agencies, nonprofit health care providers, schools and fire districts. It will be managed by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and be used to reimburse locals for expenses like personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing and other pandemic-related costs.
Ducey said he wanted to be careful about spending the rest of the state’s CARES Act allotment from the federal government, saying it could be used to pay costs like unemployment benefits, for example.
Local governments to receive $441 million In flexible funding.
The pandemic is taking a toll on mental health as well as the economy.
Travel plans for Memorial Day and beyond are another victim of the pandemic.
Pregnant women in prisons are very vulnerable to the pandemic.
Be careful of donation scams for COVID-19.
Politicians pushing to keep lockdown policies in place are embracing a new strategy: suppression.
Mathematical illiteracy and misunderstanding of large numbers is contributing to the misunderstanding of the COVID-19 pandemic.
YRMC to Conduct its Final Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Clinic on May 16th in Prescott Valley