Tuesday night, the City of Junction City dispersed its share of the SPARK money it received from Geary County.
SPARK funds are COVID-19 relief funds and must be spent on COVID-19-related expenses by the community.
The county has received roughly $6.3 million in funds from this grant program. The city has been allocated about $1.4 million of those funds.
Some of the city’s allocation will go to reimbursing city departments for COVID-19 related expenses they have already incurred such as personal protective equipment. Other expenses these funds will go to covering include the expense of not shutting off clients’ utilities — such as water — due to nonpayment, a program the city had in place earlier this year in light of the pandemic putting many people out of work.
The county and state have reviewed the city’s proposed projects.
The city approved the following expenses to be paid through the use of SPARK funds: $11,389.99 for a drug/medical dispensing machine, $87,435.14 for a pair of Striker Power Load Ambulance Cots, $60,892.86 for ventilators, $239,309.91 for personal protective equipment and medical waste disposal equipment, $41,804.85 for automated CPR machines, $21,822.50 for 125 computer monitors with web cameras for city employees, $37,922.08 for 16 Surface Pro laptop computers and accessories, and $23,499.96 for Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers.
Junction City Fire Chief Terry Johnson said the medicine dispenser will allow EMTs to dispense medications such as narcotics, which will be tracked as to when they were dispensed and who receives them.
The new ambulance cots have been proven to reduce back injuries, according to Johnson.
Ventilators have become an essential tool in fighting severe cases of COVID-19.
“We have seen an increase of respiratory emergencies with COVID-19,” Johnson said.
Ventilators are in high demand right now, but Johnson said he believed the city’s new ventilators would be available within about three months.
The city is also in need of personal protective equipment, which it is going through at a much higher rate than usual at this time and this will likely continue into the near future. Having extra personal protective equipment on hand will help prepare for emergencies — this way, according to Johnson, the JCFD won’t be waiting around in the event of an emergency or shortage of such equipment, wondering if their equipment will even arrive.
The new medical waste disposal system will make it easier and safer to dispose of medical waste, according to Johnson, shredding the waste and rendering it safe to throw in any dumpster as opposed to needing a special disposal process.
The computers and computer equipment being purchased by the city will male every city-owned computer Zoom-capable, so staff members can attend virtual meetings. In recent months as meetings have been pushed online, city employees have often struggled to attend meetings over Zoom, being kicked out of meetings accidentally as they tried to attend them on their phones.
The Clorox sprayers will help keep city facilities sanitized and safe.
SPARK funds must be used by Dec. 30 of this year or be turned back to the government.
“It’s possible that date could be extended, but we were told there would be no discussion of it until after the election,” Finance Director Lindsay Miller said.
Toward the end of its meeting, the city commission voted to go into a 10-minute executive session for attorney client privilege to discuss legal matters pertaining to building permit and property owned by Nathan Kozlowski.
The executive session included the City Manager Allen Dinkel, fire chief Johnson and City Attorney Britain Stites. After returning from executive session, no action was taken.