Wyoming received $605,000 from CARES Act

While COVID-19 may have canceled the majority of events surrounding Stagecoach Days, Wyoming City Council discussed one element that still will take place.

The fireworks display associated with the annual event will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at Goodview Park starting around 9 p.m.

The city has contracted with REP Pyro for a display to last between 16 and 19 minutes at a cost of $6,500.

Assistant City Administrator Kelly Dumais said one concept that would help promote social distancing at that event is to mark the grass with circles that indicate proper social distancing between groups.

“The idea is to provide indicators to residents at the park to show what the 6-foot boundary would be,” she said. “This will help us separate people, because even though this is outside, there is a risk for people to gather in groups.”

Another idea being investigated is to expand the locations where residents can view the fireworks, potentially including Blue Spruce Park and Verges Memorial Park, both of which are within a half mile of Goodview Park.

To expand the number of places where residents could see the fireworks, Mayor Lisa Iverson asked if the fireworks could be shot from a higher location, while Council Member Linda Nanko-Yeager asked if the fireworks could be shot to a higher altitude.

“In our discussion with the vendor, they did not express any concern with being able to view the fireworks and having social distancing,” Dumais said.

City Administrator Robb Linwood stressed the importance of getting information to and feedback from city residents to ensure both the safety and enjoyment of the event.

“The biggest thing is that we’re going to push out information and ask our community to make this a success by keeping in mind some of those safety guidelines,” he said. “We want to get information out early and often to help people prepare for what the safety protocols will be so this will be a fun, successful event.”

Federal grant prep

The city’s reception of grants from several different sources this year has caused it to put together a policy in anticipation of a federal audit.

Wyoming received $605,000 from the CARES Act in response to COVID-19, as well as $165,000 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as part of the Swenson Park Project. Those $770,000 trigger a federal guideline that calls for a single audit when grants total more than $750,000 in one year.

The policy generated by the city documents a variety of elements, including internal controls, financial management and accounting records, and documentation of all procedures to help ease potential issues surrounding an audit.

The policy was approved unanimously. 

Election plans

Council previewed a 2020 Elections COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in anticipation of the Tuesday, Aug. 11, primary.

Dumais said the plan includes a number of practices in common use, including handwashing and social distancing. The voting booths will be sanitized between each use.

“We have invested in new election booths that provide for social distancing by spreading voters out in the polling place,” she said. “We also are making sure that voters and election judges have access to hand sanitizer to make sure we are making as germ-free an environment as we can.”

Following the meeting, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued a state mandate that led to an amendment to the plan in the area of voters wearing masks at polling places.

Linwood said that any voter who entered the polls without a face covering would be told they need to comply with the state mandate in order to vote, or would be offered the opportunity to use “curbside” voting, which involves election judges coming out to voter’s car at the polling station.

Linwood explained that, if a voter chose not to wear a facemask and refused curbside voting, state law requires that the voter be allowed to vote, but that voter’s refusal to comply would be recorded and reported to the proper authorities.

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