The City of Grand Rapids has received more than $882,000 in additional grant funding for expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

During a regular meeting of the Grand Rapids City Council Monday, Oct. 26, the council accepted a grant for $858,276 from the Minnesota Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) as well $24,431.35 in grants from the Itasca County CRF.

As Grand Rapids City Administrator Tom Pagel has explained in previous meetings, city staff realize that the changes caused by COVID-19 will not be “going away in the near future,” and the city’s IT capabilities will need to be increased. Pagel reported that $252,000 was needed to upgrade servers. Other expenditures related to COVID-19 included relocating employees from the Civic Center which was closed, the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), public utilities upgrades and more.

Grand Rapids Director of Community Development Rob Mattei has reported that

several loans have been provided to small businesses that suffered loss of income during the pandemic. The city has also secured funds from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRR) and the Blandin Foundation to provide business grants.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Approved verified claims for Oct. 6-19, 2020 in the total amount of $946,968.36.

• Approved the purchase of easements related to CP 2015-3, Highway 2 West Trail project.

• Set pay range for part-time seasonal and temporary employees at the IRA Civic Center.

• Renewed long-term disability and voluntary life insurance coverage through Lincoln Financial Group.

• Renewed 2021 group life insurance.

• Approved the Grand Rapids Police Department’s request to solicit bids for two 2021 Ford Police Intercepter Utility SUVs to replace a 2009 Dodge Charger and a 2007 Chevrolet Impala and one 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee to replace a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

• Authorized the IT Department to donate some retired audio/visual equipment to the Ponti-Peterson VFW Post 1720.

• Authorized the Fire Department to apply for a turnout gear washer/extractor grant from the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.

• Approved amendments to the 2020-2021 Public Works part-time winter maintenance season employee list.

• Approved liquor licenses for 2021, contingent upon receipt of all required fees and documentation.

• Approved additional election judges to serve at the General Election on Nov. 3, 2020.

• Authorized the police department to sell a used 2011 Dodge Charger police squad car and a used 2012 Dodge Durango police squad car to Arrowhead Regional Law Enforcement Training/Hibbing Community College for $10,927.

• Entered into Occupational Development Center, Inc.’s Transitional Work Program Contract Agreement for the 2020-2021 winter snow removal season.

• Adopted a resolution accepting a $250,000 grant from Minnesota IRRR Development Infrastructure Grant Program for work associated with the Minnesota Diversified Industries Expansion Project and authorize the Mayor to execute the Grant Agreement.

• Adopted a resolution accepting a $230,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRR) Community Infrastructure Grant Program for the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission Solar Array and Energy Storage Project and authorize the Mayor to execute the Grant Agreement.

• Rehired Joseph Rabbers as part-time Hospital Security Officer effective immediately.

• Approved a proposal from O’Day Equipment LLC for fuel sensor equipment at the GPZ airport and authorized payment.

All councilor members were present, with three attending via zoom.

The next regular meeting of the Grand Rapids City Council is Nov. 9, 2020 at 5 p.m.

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