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ASHLAND -- In a relatively short meeting Tuesday, Ashland City Council established a special revenue fund for potential COVID-19 relief funding and discussed its street resurfacing program.

The only action taken Tuesday pertained to the special revenue fund, which finance director Larry Paxton called a "preemptive" move that sets up the city to quickly begin depositing and expending federal and state aid meant assist the city in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Potential funding may come with fast-approaching deadlines. If the city receives CARES Act funding, it may need to be spent by Oct. 15, Paxton said. 

By establishing the fund, the city is setting itself up to use the funding efficiently, as the dollars would be earmarked for COVID-19 related expenses and could need returned if not spent within a certain timeframe. 

To further prepare, the city has proactively tracked its COVID-19 related expenses, including purchases for personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. It's also monitored expenses pertaining to employees who took time off due to the pandemic. 

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Larry Paxton (May 19, 2020)

"It gets a start on it, so we'll be prepared so if it does happen," Paxton said. 

Mayor Matt Miller later reminded council that he will bring a list of streets to potentially resurface to the next council meeting.

Already more than $1 million is committed to new asphalt in the city of Ashland. These dollars serve as the local match for collaborative projects. 

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Mayor Matt Miller (May 19, 2020)

Earlier this month, the city passed legislation to repave West 10th Street from Cottage to Troy streets, East 8th Street from Union Avenue to the dead end and Union Avenue from East 8th to Orange streets. All were characterized by “deteriorated and in need of repair” in the ordinance. A significant portion of this project will be covered by a grant, Miller said. 

The city will contribute approximately $500,000 to resurface US 250 between the Ashland northern corporation limit and US 42, and State Route 58 between US 250 and the Ashland northern corporation limit. The Ohio Department of Transportation will cover the remaining cost of the $1.3 million project. 

Ashland City Council approved this collaboration with ODOT in early April. 

The Wells Road extension also was already approved. The city's share will be approximately $450,000. The total project is expected to cost about $945,000, which is offset by three grants, according to Mayor Miller. 

The next council meeting is set for Tuesday, June 2 and is expected to be open to the public, unless different guidance comes from the state before then. 

Council chambers closed to the public in April, and meetings were instead open via Facebook live. Public comment was not allowed through the social media platform, but special arrangements could be made with the Council Clerk prior to the meeting. 

As chambers reopen, social distancing will still be required, and resultantly room capacity could be limited. The meetings will remain available via Facebook live, and residents are still encouraged to continue contacting the clerk or their council representative with concerns at this time. 

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