The City of Wichita may spend to create a COVID-19 expense tracking project and to bypass normal purchasing processes.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Wichita City Council, members will consider measures to help the city respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the agenda packet for the meeting, the city advises that the pandemic will financially impact the city, and that the city needs to take steps to respond.
According to the city document, the city may experience extra costs and revenue shortfalls. There is the potential for the city to be compensated for these if the city can “aggregate and track relevant costs.” The city proposes a project with an initial budget of one million dollars to accomplish this. A proposed ordinance authorizes issuing general obligation bonds to provide funding.
Also, a proposed ordinance authorizes the city manager to bypass the regular city purchasing process. That, according to city code, requires public bidding for purchases over $50,000. The proposed ordinance authorizes the manager to use the “public exigency” exception. The ordinance also authorizes the manager to make necessary budget adjustments to this regard. Also, a person may be designated as the city’s authorized representative when dealing with federal or state agencies.
The city’s response to the pandemic has generated controversy among members of the city council. The Wichita Eagle has reported on this in the news stories Wichita mayor Whipple, council clash on proposal to aid workers idled by coronavirus and Wichita City Council fracas over workers furloughed during coronavirus turns ugly.