When it meets in a special session tonight (6-18-10), the Sitka Assembly will consider how to spend the city’s remaining $9.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds. 

The assembly has a jumping off point: The CARES Act Working Group drafted a budget, and now it’s seeking some direction. The group includes Sitka Tribe of Alaska General Manager Lisa Gassman, Garry White representing the Economic Resiliency Task Force, and assembly members Kevin Knox and Kevin Mosher, It was established in late May and also includes several city staffers.

Sitka is set to receive over $14 million in federal disaster funding. The assembly already approved $4.5 million toward utility and moorage subsidies.

A memo from City Administrator John Leach outlines the working group’s recommendations for the rest of the money. The biggest chunk is $5 million, which could go toward grants for businesses and nonprofits.

The group also recommends spending $1.75 million on new city-funded programs, including $500,000 toward childcare, $200,000 toward food security, $350,000 toward housing support and $400,000 for a transitional employment program to hire unemployed or underemployed people to work on Sitka projects. 

The working group drew up a framework, but it’s only a recommendation. Tonight’s meeting is planned to seek guidance from the assembly on the work they’ve done so far.