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CITY COUNCIL HOLDS FIRST-EVER REMOTE MEETING, APPROVES $85 MILLION EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION TO HELP FIGHT CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

In Cherelle Parker, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA, April 2, 2020 — City Council held a historic remote meeting today and voted to give final approval to an emergency $85 Million appropriation to help the city contain and mitigate the Coronavirus outbreak across Philadelphia.

The emergency appropriation measure, Bill 200258, was requested by the Kenney administration to fund an array of operations and initiatives essential to fighting the outbreak in Philadelphia. More information on the bill can be found here.

“These are extraordinary times,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District). “The crisis we are facing brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Every part of our economy is going to feel the impact of these months of sheltering-in-place. Just as the stimulus plan at the federal level is believed to be the first of many steps on a long road to our nation’s recovery, what Council voted on today is just the beginning of what we will need to do to help our residents, small businesses, and other organizations rebuild after this pandemic.”

“Intergovernmental cooperation, coordination, and strategic planning are of the utmost importance to our citizenry during these unprecedented times,” said Council’s Majority Leader, Cherelle Parker (9th District). “I’m proud to note that that our City Council is working in a unified manner with our Federal and State Government leaders. This is the only way that we will maximize the efficient use of the scarce resources available to save the people and businesses in our city from economic calamity.”

On March 13, the city issued a Declaration of Emergency relating to Coronavirus COVID-19 in Philadelphia. On March 16, Mayor Kenney ordered a halt to all nonessential city government operations, and ordered City Hall closed to the public. Those orders remain in effect as the outbreak continues to spread citywide. As of Wednesday, the City Department or Public Health reported 1,675 positive cases of Coronavirus in Philadelphia, with 15 deaths.

Councilmembers participated in Thursday’s Meeting remotely, with the assistance of City Council’s Information Technology department. The Council used existing Microsoft Teams technology to hold the remote session. The press and public were able to watch the session on Xfinity Ch. 64, Verizon Ch. 40 and livestreamed at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.

Because of the pandemic, public comment for Thursday’s session was adjusted to meet with social distancing recommendations from the Health Department, while still allowing the public to weigh in on the emergency appropriation bill.

The emergency appropriation measure, Bill 200258, was the only bill considered by Council on Thursday. Public comment was limited to this bill.

For more information on public comment, go to: http://phlcouncil.com/offering-public-comment-at-council-sessions-temp

City Council is exploring holding subsequent meetings and hearings remotely during the pandemic, particularly as they pertain to the city’s proposed FY 2020-21 budget. Further information about subsequent meetings will be released as soon as it becomes available.

Watch the Stated Meeting:

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