I regret the urgency under which the proposed ordinance has been prepared, has not afforded me the opportunity to a summary of the proposed legislation, as is customary in the usual course of government business.

The proposed ordinance expresses the Council’s appreciation of the public health emergency, directs and empowers the Mayor to engage in measures to mitigate the spread of the disease, protect the employee of the City of Elkhart and ensure the continuation of the essential operations of government.

To this end an emergency appropriation is requested to provide the Mayor the agility and wherewithal to address the urgent needs of the community arising out of and in response to the health emergency in which we our community, state and nation.

Proposed Ordinance No. 20-O-17

ORDINANCE NO. ______

AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE ENACTMENT OF VARIOUS MEASURES TO ADDRESS THE CURRENT COVID-19 HEALTH EMERGENCY, INCLUDING AN APPROPRIATION OF EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR SUCH PURPOSES

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-02, which declared that a public health emergency exists throughout the State of Indiana as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) outbreak in the United States and a confirmed report that a single Hoosier had contracted the virus; and

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, and on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency with respect to the virus; and

WHEREAS, as of March 23, 2020, the virus had spread to more than forty (40) counties throughout Indiana, including Elkhart County, and caused several deaths statewide, with these numbers expected to increase in the days ahead; and

WHEREAS, the City of Elkhart finds it necessary to enact measures to address the current COVID-19 health emergency.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Common Council of the City of Elkhart, Indiana, that:

Section 1. All non-essential meetings of the Common Council of the City and the governing bodies of all departments and boards of the City shall be postponed or cancelled.

Section 2. The City’s governmental activities shall be limited to “Essential Governmental Functions,” which shall mean services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the City and its Departments or to provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public, and including contractors of the City performing essential governmental functions. The Mayor of the City is hereby authorized and directed on behalf of the City to determine the Essential Governmental Functions of the City and to identify employees and/or contractors necessary to the performance of those functions and to determine rules, policies and protocols relating thereto consistent with Indiana law and Federal law.

Section 3. In accordance with State Examiner Directive 2020-1, as amended, the Common Council hereby amends the City’s normal procedures for the timely deposit of funds and the approval of claims for the duration of the public health emergency, as follows.

  1. (a)  Deposits of public funds shall be made only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and public funds shall be secured on those days when a deposit is not made, and adequate internal controls shall be enforced.
  2. (b)  The President of the Common Council is hereby authorized on behalf of the Common Council to approve claims for payment in advance of Common Council approval; provided, that the Common Council must ratify the approval of claims at its first meeting after the Public Health Emergency has ended.

Section 4. The Common Council acknowledges the Federal legislation entitled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing for mandatory leave for up to twelve weeks for government employees who are unable to work due to specific conditions arising under the COVID-19 public health emergency. In an effort to mitigate the spread of the COIVID-19 in the City of Elkhart and maintain the City’s workforce during this emergency, the Council hereby authorizes and directs the Mayor to implement the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act effective March 25, 2020. The Council further authorizes and directs the Mayor to supplement those provisions of the Act which allow for compensation for affected employees to be compensated at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the affected employee’s regular rate of pay by providing the additional one-third (1/3) of the qualified employee’s regular rate of pay during the additional period of leave under the Act.

Section 5. The Common Council acknowledges the need for the City to be able to take immediate and responsive action to address the challenges known and unknown that confront the City and its residents stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Accordingly, on behalf of the City, the Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to undertake the following actions on behalf of the City in a manner consistent with State and Federal law, including the issuance by the Mayor of Executive Orders pertaining thereto:

  1. Establish rules consistent with Indiana law for the circumstances under which documents may be allowed to be removed from government offices.
  2. Establish rules to ensure that secure IT systems are in place, including with respect to work on behalf of the City authorized by the Mayor to be performed remotely.
  3. Maintain close communication with the Elkhart County Health Department and the County Emergency Management Agency and with representatives of Elkhart County and other cities and towns in Elkhart County with respect to matters the Mayor deems necessary for the protection of the public health.
  4. Establish rules to implement and ensure compliance with all Executive Orders of the Governor of Indiana and all State Examiner Directives issued by the Indiana State Board of Accounts, and any other Indiana state guidelines and mandates applicable to municipalities relating to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  5. Establish rules to implement and ensure compliance with directives from the Federal government and the officials and agencies thereof, including directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. Provide information to the public relating to the operations of the City.
  1. Provide information to the public relating to the availability of public assistance, and collaborate on behalf of the City with health care entities, religious organizations, the Salvation Army and similar charitable organizations, as well as the Township Trustee.
  2. Provide information to the public regarding applying for unemployment benefits and obtaining assistance for small businesses.
  3. Establish rules for providing relief from utility late fees for residents impacted by COVID-19.
  4. Establish rules and policies, consist with Indiana laws and orders and Federal law (including in particular, Federal laws impacting paid leave time), regarding City employees, including, without limitation, rules and policies relating to work performance, exceptions to normal work rules, policies for working remotely, and policies relating to compensation of employees.
  5. Make disaster declarations on behalf of the City, or otherwise take actions intended to assist the City in qualifying for State and Federal assistance.
  6. Investigate opportunities for State and Federal funds that may become available for the City and its families and small businesses as a result of the emergency, and make application therefor.
  7. Investigatetheneedforprocuringemergencysuppliesforlocalhospitalandhealthcare facilities, and take necessary action, including entering into contracts on behalf of the City, to procure such supplies.
  8. Investigate the need for acquiring necessary supplies for public safety personnel to ensure their personal safety and to enable them to fulfill their emergency duties, and take necessary actions, including entering into contracts on behalf of the City to acquire such supplies.
  9. Take such further actions and establish such rules, policies and procedures as the Mayor shall determine to be necessary with respect to Essential Public Functions.

Section 6. The Common Council hereby establishes a fund designated as the “COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.” Such fund shall be used solely as determined by the Mayor to assist with the measures authorized herein, including without limitation purchasing supplies, paying employees, contracting for outside professional, medical, or related services, and providing space for the homeless who may need to be isolated from regular homeless shelters. The Mayor shall be authorized to make emergency expenditures from such fund, subject to the prior approval of the President of the Common Council, and subject to the ratification of such expenditure decisions by the Common Council at its first meeting after the Public Health Emergency has ended.

Section 7. The Common Council hereby makes an emergency appropriation of the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) from the Economic Development Local Income Tax Fund (Fund 444) and applied to the following line item:

268-5-000-439.0900 COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE $500,000.00

Any unused funds upon the end of the public health emergency shall revert to the Economic Development Local Income Tax Fund.

Section 8. The Common Council, in addition to these policy steps and appropriations, hereby acknowledges the directives set forth in the Mayor’s Executive Order 2020-01 dated March 20, 2020, setting forth the City’s administrative response to the COVID-19 outbreak and, except as such directive may have been modified by Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-04 and 20- 08, ratifies and approves such directives.

Section 9. The Common Council, in response to Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-08 hereby suspends for the duration of this public health emergency, the following standard agenda items from the order of business of the regular meetings of the Common Council as provided by Section 30.17 of the Elkhart City Code: (1) presentations and introductions; (2) neighborhood association reports; and (3) privilege of the floor, and all other non-essential business of the Council.

Section 10. This Ordinance shall be in effect from and after its passage and approval, This Ordinance shall remain in effect until such time as the Governor rescinds or otherwise fails to extend his declaration of public health emergency related to or arising out of this crisis.

ORDAINED THIS 24th day of March, 2020.