Manti spends CARES allotment
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—Manti City has spent the $309,000 it received from the 2020 CARES Act for items ranging from a new room in the city library that will permit social distancing while using computers to new UTVs (utility terrain vehicles) for cleaning up city parks.
CARES stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security. The $2.2 trillion stimulus act, signed by President Donald Trump in March 2020, provided federal funds for state, county and local governments to cover unexpected costs due to the coronavirus as well as to fight the spread of the virus.
In Utah, the deadline for spending the money was Dec. 31, 2020. Manti City completed all its purchases by that date, according to City Manager Kent Barton.
“Pretty much everything is here,” he said. “Some things are waiting to be set up. We feel like all the things we bought fit with the guidelines of helping prevent the spread of COVID.”
Barton divided the city’s expenditures into five categories. The biggest category, accounting for $86,000, or 28 percent of the total, was “communication.”
The single biggest item in that category, costing $48,000, was a new sign going in on the lawn of the city building for getting public service information out to residents. Barton said the sign will be similar to the I-Four Media electronic billboard in Ephraim.
Other items under “communication” included a Zoom subscription that has enabled the city to hold many city council and other meetings virtually, and laptops that staff have used when working at home.
The second largest category was “vehicles and cleaning units.” Expenditures in that category came to $79,000 or 26 percent of the total.
The city bought “self-contained cleaning units” that carry all the chemicals and tools for cleaning restrooms.” Barton said the units “really improve our ability to clean our restrooms and keep them safe.”
Another expenditure was two UTVs for getting around the city park, the park next to the old city hall and the new sports park, and cleaning common areas, such as picnic pavilions, playground equipment and bleachers.
The vehicles will enable the city to “do whatever we need to do to sanitize between groups of users,” Barton said.
The next category, accounting for $44,000 in expenditures and 14 percent of the total, was “materials and supplies for prevention.”
That category included remodeling a one-time kitchen on the first floor of the library near the children’s room.
There is a computer area with 11 stations on the main level of the library, but the stations are so close together that to maintain social distancing, only two computers can be used at a time, Cindy Tibbs Lopez, the library director, said.
The new room will have three, socially distanced stations. Initially, the library will install just one computer in the room, but patrons can set up their laptops in the other two spots. And the room will have good Wi-Fi, she said.
Use of the room will be primarily by reservation. If an individual or group needs to have a virtual meeting with people outside Manti, they will be able to reserve the room, Lopez said. Or a student taking college courses online could use it to take a test.
The room will have a small stove, refrigerator and microwave or toaster oven for preparation of refreshments for events. It will also have storage cabinets.
“This will end up being one of the most effective rooms in the library because it can be used for so many things,” Lopez said.
Another project in the category “materials and supplies for prevention” is installing sound and video equipment in the Eva Beal Auditorium. The equipment will make it possible to hold a public meeting in the auditorium, where there is sufficient space for social distancing.
Finally, under the “materials and supplies for prevention” category, the city is making sinks and toilets in most of its buildings “touchless.” In other words, water can be turned on from motion sensors as someone runs his or her hands under the tap. And toilets will flush automatically.
The last expenditure category, accounting for $26,000 or 8 percent of CARES funds, is cleaning and sanitization supplies. Most expenditures in that category were for cleaning chemicals.