Touchless doors and upgraded tech – How Merriam plans to spend $350,000 in COVID-19 relief funds

While Merriam has already been reimbursed for $68,000 worth of COVID-19 related purchases the federal grant fund would allow for better tracking of expenditures, according to Meredith Hauck, assistant city administrator. 

The Merriam City Council last week established a fund to keep track of nearly $350,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds being allocated through Johnson County.

Meredith Hauck, assistant city administrator, said Merriam has already been reimbursed by the county for $68,000 worth of COVID-19-related purchases, including $50,000 improvements to its electronic resident services and $6,000 worth of personal protective equipment.

The newly established fund, she said, will allow for better tracking of the expenses, as required by the city’s audit.

“[It’s] a new fund in the city financial system that would track this grant funding separately from our general fund,” Hauck said. “We need council approval to create that fund, and that’s where grant funding would go into and where the expenditures would hit as well — it’s like money in, money out.”

Here’s a list of the city’s pre-approved, planned expenses that will be reimbursed through the new fund:

  • City conference room AV upgrades and WiFi extension, accounting for $95,000.
  • Electronic service delivery expansion worth $21,000, including the purchase of an automated system to text municipal court defendants.
  • An $11,500 laptop pool for city employees to check and use either to work from home or to work at a different location on the city’s campus.
  • $79,500 worth of touchless upgrades to doors and restroom facilities.
  • Additional sanitizing equipment for air and city surfaces, worth $23,000.

Hauck said she expects the city will use the nearly $45,000 leftover amount in full before the end of December 2020.