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City Council to consider assistance fund for laid-off employees

Charlottesville City Council is set to provide an assistance fund to employees taken off payroll because of the pandemic.

The council will consider setting aside $100,000 for the fund during its meeting Monday.

The city stopped paying more than 200 temporary employees last month.

Non-essential personnel were told to stay home starting March 17 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

While some employees were working from home, those who couldn’t were still being compensated at their normal salary rate based on how many hours they typically worked over the past year.

As of Friday, 228 temporary employees had been removed from payroll.

City officials characterized the move as necessary as revenue projections remain bleak due to the pandemic.

According to a staff report, employees with a household income below 50% of the area median income may receive up to $750. Employees with a household income below 30% area median income may receive up to $1,000.

The money will come from the $155,000 left in a contingency reserve set aside from the city’s allocation through the federal coronavirus stimulus package.

The council will also receive recommendations for traffic safety measures on Cherry Avenue, Willard Drive and Fifth Street.

The city received a petition about Cherry Avenue in July. Officials had planned a traffic study in the area, but it was postponed because of the pandemic’s effect on traffic. Officials conducted a vehicle count in early November and plan to provide a report in the future.

On Willard Drive, the issues are noise generated by speed bumps, truck traffic and vegetation blocking signs.

Staff has addressed the vegetation problems and added signs prohibiting trucks in the area.

On Fifth Street, there have been five fatal crashes between Harris Road and Cherry/Elliott Avenue since November 2016. Three of those have occurred since July. Many residents have expressed concern with speed in the corridor.

According to the Charlottesville Police Department, the crashes were caused by driver action, not roadway design.

City staff members have determined “there is not a speeding problem along the corridor,” the report says. However, the report says, the roadway is designed to allow for higher speeds for those who do not follow the speed limit.

Staff will provide several short- and long-term options to address concerns in the three areas during Monday’s meeting.

City logo

Although no action is expected, the council will receive a report on the history of the city logo and the process for changing it.

According to a staff report, the council formed a City Seal Selection Committee in 1971 and held a contest for the seal.

The winning entry was submitted by R.W. Vanderberry and selected on June 6, 1971.

According to the report, there is no formal process for revising the logo.

Monday will be the first time the council starts its business at 4 p.m., a move that aims to prevent the meeting from ending late in the night. The first half of the meeting will consist only of staff reports on the food equity initiative and a financial report.

The second half of the meeting will be open to regular business, including public comment and action items, starting at 6:30 p.m. To register to participate, visit charlottesville.gov/zoom.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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