Silver Lake receives $165,212 in CARES Act money

Large portion of funds will be used for technology upgrades to give village hall employees telework capabilities

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Silver Lake Mayor Bernie Hovey delivers his State of the Village address in 2019. The village has received $165,212 in COVID-19 relief money, much of which will be spent on upgrading technology so that village hall employees can telework.

SILVER LAKE — The village will use much of its share of federal pandemic assistance money to upgrade its municipal technology, which officials say is presently too outdated for government employees to work remotely.

The village has received $165,212 in COVID-19 relief money from the state through Summit County, and village council in August passed legislation to spend nearly $134,000 of those funds on upgrading software, putting in a new server and buying new laptops so village hall workers can do their jobs away from the office.

"We're unable to work from home," said Village Clerk-Treasurer Sean Housley. He added that the upgrade is "desperately needed" so that the new software system is "web-based."

Council member Therese Dunphy (District B) added she was, "very happy to see the upgrades in the software."

Council in August also agreed to spend $11,163 of the COVID-19 funds to purchase electronic tablets that would be installed in some police cruisers so officers could file reports while in their vehicles. 

Housley later said the village has about 19 full-time workers who have had to keep coming to work during the pandemic.

While there are no plans at present to move workers out of the office, he said the new technology would enable about a dozen administrative staff to work remotely if the pandemic situation worsens -- including himself, the service director and possibly police supervisors.

Thus far, village workers have been wearing masks and practicing social distancing, and village hall had been closed to the public in the earlier part of the pandemic.

An $8,000 barrier is being constructed in village hall to allow for increased separation of visitors.

Housley said $1,475 of COVID-19 relief money was spent on disinfectant foggers and $713 for UV lights for the service department. The village is also planning to spend some of the funding on signs and masks.

Council on Tuesday approved legislation to apply for COVID-19 relief money from Summit County's payroll relief program. Housley noted the village is hoping to receive about $75,000 from the county program "within the next 10 days or so."

Houseley said that money will be used to offset police payroll costs, a portion of which communities can claim as added expenses due to COVID-19.

Public hearing on riparian setback legislation delayed

Council in August voted to postpone the public hearing on the proposed changes to the riparian setback legislation to its first meeting in May 2021.

The hearing had been scheduled as an in-person session on Sept. 21, but council agreed to the postponement after receiving requests from the attorney for the Silver Lake Estates Board of Trustees' attorney and the planning commission chairperson.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com or on Twitter at @keren_phil.