“Further Social Distancing will be coming in the next few days,” noted Culver City City Manager John Nachbar, who has also stepped into his new role as Emergency Services Manager as required by the City Charter.
The Culver City City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 was just the kind of unique that is rapidly becoming commonplace; all members of the council were present via speakerphones, with only a few members of the staff present in the chamber to facilitate the needed functions.
With Nachbar taking on the additional role of Emergency Services Manager with Coronovirus crisis, he noted that “the statistics we included in the staff report have increased dramatically since he report was written.”
On March 14, Nachbar declared a local emergency, making the city eligible for state and federal aid, and following the lead of the city of Los Angeles so that cities were acting consistently in support of each other. A cohort of Westside cities, including Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood have all worked together to support a consistent policy response throughout the region
The manager made a request for budget augmentation of $250,000 above an beyond the current budget, to be used to address the crisis. “This will be used for further staffing, and supplies needed.” He added that “we are going to be cutting expenditures everywhere we can, looking at the situation we are facing, and spending as we anticipate [what is] needed for the situation.”
Public comments were submitted by more than a dozen people, protesting the hoarding of supplies, asking the council to strengthen the eviction prohibition, and weighing the cost to property owners needing to protect their mortgages.
Cathy Johnson, the CFO of the Culver Hotel, noted the hardest day of her 30 years in the hospitality business. She asked the council to consider how to “help our business community, as many businesses are closed. “Most Downtown Culver City restaurants pay for outdoor dining permits, and valet parking permits. Can we please have these fees waived?” She also suggested an extended moratorium on Transient Occupancy Tax, the fee that the city collects per rented hotel rooms.
The resolution that was passed by the council was to “Adopt a Resolution ratifying the Proclamation of Local Emergency issued by the City Manager (Director of Emergency Services) on March 14, 2020 related to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and confirming the existence of such local emergency; and Adopt an Urgency Ordinance confirming the Public Order issued by the Director of Emergency Services on March 16, 2020 ordering various precautionary measures to be taken across the City to protect members of the public and City workers from undue risk of COVID-19, and enforcement thereof (requires a four-fifths vote); and Approve a Budget Appropriation of $250,000 for related emergency response expenses (requires a four-fifths vote)”
The motion was made by Council member Thomas Small, seconded by Council member Alex Fisch, passing with five ayes.