The Town of Westport has extended its emergency declaration through the end of October, authorizing the continuation of emergency powers for an additional 90 days.
“Every community’s doing the same thing,” said town administrator Tom Wilson. “And it seems that 90 days has been kind of a standard, at least from what I’ve seen and heard from various entities in the county. I’m hoping that, by the end of October, there’s some normalcy.”
Passed at the town board’s July 20 meeting, Resolution 20-05 has granted Wilson “executive authority to implement measures as determined necessary in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
So far, many of the measures have focused on reducing risk of exposure at the town-hall building.
“What the resolution did is just extend our emergency declaration,” Wilson said, “which has allowed us to take some actions administratively like changes to our office hours – basically it’s closed – and requiring masks to be worn inside the building.”
The resolution has also extended the authorization of emergency purchases related to goods and materials, such as PPE, services and emergency costs to the labor force.
Wilson said those expenses will be eligible for reimbursement through the federal CARES Act.
“We’re trying to take advantage of that as best we can,” Wilson said. “If you look at the original declaration, one of the first things is to keep track of the funds that we’re spending on this. That way, if funds above us become available for reimbursement, we’ll have a track record of that.”
Wilson said the municipality is eligible for a reimbursement of up to $65,000. Of that, approximately $8,000 has already been approved.
The town administrator said he expects another $4,000 to be approved in the near future.
“We’re still applying,” Wilson said. “We’re entitled to up to $65,000 in funding for various COVID-19 reaction items. And there’s still some things that we need to do. We probably need to do some things to make sure that our building is safer.”
Wilson said future expenditures could include an ionic or UV air-purification system, no-touch doors, automatic-flush toilets and touch-free hand dryers.
“Those are the kinds of items that we still need to retrofit a little bit,” Wilson said. “And we’re going to use some of that money to do those things.”