Hamburg City Council has approved restructuring the offices in city hall to better protect employees from exposure to COVID-19, though Mayor Dane Weindorf also said that the changes will be more convenient for utility customers in the long run.
“With the COVID, we are going to try to get where the city hall is more secure,” Weindorf told the council. “You will have to buzz in and buzz out.”
Weindorf said even though the doors would be more secure, the city would be moving the water department office to another part of the building and installing a drive-through window for people who want to pay their bills. Though it was the first time he brought the matter to the council, city workers spent Columbus Day pouring the concrete for the change, he said.
“It is going to make a real nice transition for people,” Weindorf said. “You would be surprised how many people park and leave their car and pay their bills...It will be a lot more convenient and safer for the employees.”
The mayor said the city will still have the lockbox for bill pay drop-off for those who want to utilize it.
When Councilwoman Derenda Stanley asked if the city could use funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to offset the cost, Weindorf said he thought it was a good idea. The restructuring of the offices and the minor construction associated with it should not cost more than $6,000, he said.
Hamburg has been approved to apply for up to $113,000 in CARES Act reimbursements.
Weindorf said the city was planning to use CARES Act funds to offset costs such as cleaning up the parks, police communications equipment, and tents that are used for outdoors events.
Stanley said the cost of the city hall changes made sense to include in the city’s CARES application.
“It is for safety,” she said.
Weindorf said that so far no city worker has contracted COVID-19.
“I can’t tell you how fortunate we are as a city that none of our employees have gotten COVID-19,” he said. “One officer was off for a week but everything came back negative after a week. These first responders are right out there. It even goes down to the sanitation workers. Everybody – the water workers, too – it is amazing what the staff here and at the city yard have done during COVID-19.”