Auburn's city manager gave another update on how the city is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, praising how city staff have handled the difficult circumstances.
City Manager Jeff Dygert gave an overview at Thursday's City Council meeting as some councilors attended remotely. The meeting was livestreamed through the city's website. The meeting was not open to the public in order to help stop the spread of the respiratory illness. Memorial City Hall and other city facilities were shuttered last week to help halt the spread.
"Early on, we established an incident management group here at the city that's comprised mostly of our department heads and split up various tasks," Dygert said, "most of them based upon the experiences of the individuals or the departments, and we also have some departments taking on things they probably never thought they would do, but things are going well."
Dygert said the Auburn Fire Department has been the liaison to the county health department and the Cayuga County Emergency Management Office. AFD has communicated daily with Auburn Community Hospital, TLC Ambulance, AMR Ambulance and Cayuga County 911 and has helped the city coordinate with those organizations.
Dygert said the the city has communicated with various human service organizations such as the agencies that provide child care, services to the homeless or elderly people to make sure they have the resources they need and help "bridge that gap somehow, put them in touch with other agencies that can help" if they do have a need.
As the pandemic continues, agencies "that were doing well in the first two or three days or the last week", Dygert continued, are beginning to have other issues arise such as needing more volunteers or more people with needs have contacted them. The city has worked with those agencies, county and state personnel and others to help assist with those gaps.
Budget meetings with individual departments heads have restarted, Dygert said.
"Those meetings that happened prior to the shutdown of local government, we're going to revisit those so we can revisit the proposed budget of those departments in preparation to (show) council a draft budget to look at in a few weeks," he said.
Dygert said the planning department has reached out to local businesses to see if they have needs such as "services that they need to provide their employees, questions related to what some of these new initiatives or changes in the state law mean, or what they need to continue production."
He added the city has reached out to local manufacturers "who have stepped up in big ways to do what they can to provide personnel protective equipment from their own stocks that they've used for their own employees at one point. Dygert said that several manufacturers have either started or are looking to begin producing personal protective equipment for local medical personnel and first responders to use and potentially for use throughout the state. Dygert said there is federal funding available for businesses affected by the pandemic and believes state funding may be available.
After the meeting, Dygert praised how city employees have handled their work in the midst of the outbreak.
"Everybody's taken on more work and certainly had a different focus over the last two weeks and I think that will continue, and along the way we're still trying to do all the stuff we normally do," he said.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.
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