I wish you and your family a healthy and happy July 4th weekend.
I would like to share how Norfolk is spending the $21M we received from the federal coronavirus relief fund. This money can only be used on items related to COVID and cannot be used for revenue replacement to the city. Specifically, the money must be used for something deemed as a necessary expenditure due to the public health emergency; not accounted for in the budget as of March 27, 2020; incurred between March 1 and December 30; and are not being reimbursed through another source (state or federal grant).
Some examples are: • COVID-19 dedicated payroll reimbursement
- IT for remote work transition
- Permanent and temporary building improvements for social distancing
- Hazard pay
- Financial assistance (rent, mortgage, utility) assistance
- Business and non-profit grants
- Open Norfolk program
- Public WiFi
- Public health communications
•Other public health measures
Budget cuts and furloughs resulted in the city being unable to maintain city property as we are accustomed. I have heard from many on this topic. Do know that residents helped out where they could in their neighborhoods – much appreciated. I, for one, mowed a city lot in my neighborhood a few times and weeded some medians…while being discreet. Many neighbors stopped and thanked me not knowing who I was. So, I look forward to our city mowing and median maintenance program starting again in July!
Let’s talk about policing. I believe in comprehensive police reform. I say comprehensive as I don’t think we should reform one measure at a time in isolation. Early action we took in June included a resolution that bans high speed chases other than involving a felony, petitions the Virginia Dept. of Criminal Justice Services to end their mandate requiring training of choke holds, calls for the Norfolk Police Dept. to publish procedure manuals and general and special orders, and to update annual reports on a regular basis. Police Chief Boone has already stopped training recruits on the choke hold technique. On July 14 we will consider additional constructive changes including release of data, publishing the data on our websites, and reporting the data in a way that is understandable.
I am grateful for so much. It is important that we stay positive and steady in these very uncertain times. My best to you for a healthy July.
Grady Wants To Play Fetch