Council Approves Childcare Grant
The loosening of COVID-19 requirements mean more children will be allowed into childcare facilities, benefiting working parents, but increasing pressure on local childcare businesses. The City of Florence was awarded a $10,000 grant from Cascades West Economic Development District (CWEDD) to support childcare providers under its Covid Response and Recovery Program. The council voted unanimously Monday night to accept the funds and to execute the project under a separate grant program in conjunction with the United Way of Lane County. Under this agreement 85 percent of the funds will go directly to childcare providers while 15 percent go to the United Way to administer the grant. According to Bess Jayme, Director of Eduction for United Way of Lane County, grant funds fill a critical need in Oregon. Every county in Oregon is considered a “childcare desert” with a total of just under 10,500 slots for 25,000 children under age six.
“The lack of available affordable and quality care hits moderate and low income families particularly hard, and policy makers and folks that are making decisions around publicly funded care have openly observed that for many families it’s really choosing between housing and childcare.”
Jayme says the annual cost of care is more than college tuition for families and the problem has been exacerbated by COVID with the number of childcare facilities dropping by more than 500 since 2021. While the granting process has not been finalized, the city expects to provide grants up to $2,500 to successful grant applicants to pay for equipment and supplies. More information on the grant and grant process is available at ci.florence.or.us.
Other Council News
At last night’s city council meeting, the Florence City Council also unanimously approved its consent agenda which included: the annual extension of the City of Florence’s worker’s compensation coverage to city volunteers; the ratification of a three-year collective bargaining agreement for the Florence Police Employees’ Association; the purchase of two portable message reader boards for $33,870 for community events, construction projects and emergency situations; and acceptance of a $32,000 American Rescue Grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for costs related to operations, cleaning, personnel, and sanitization to combat the spread of pathogens.
The Case count for COVID-19 in Florence is now at 288. The latest jump reflects recent cases at Spruce Point Assisted living and Memory Care and is part of a larger surge across the state. Lane County cases increased by 28 from the previous week. The main difference is the Florence outbreak. The state released its latest numbers yesterday afternoon and it shows a 48.2% increase in cases from the previous week. There were 1768 new cases overall. The Oregon Health Authority is urging unvaccinated individuals to use extreme caution and continue the wearing of mask in public settings.
Chip Seal Project to Begin
Beginning this Thursday the City of Florence will begin a chip seal program on a portion of Willow Loop road between 18th Court and Coastal Highlands Drive. Several other streets will also be included in the area including 18th court and a portion of 16th street. The project will begin this Thursday according to assistant City Manager Megan Messmer. Monday and Tuesday of next week the area will be swept for excessive chips from the roads surface and on Monday and Tuesday August 3rd and 4th an application of Liquid road will be added to the chip seal. All three processes are weather permitting. Residents in the area are requested to remove their vehicles from the project are during all three segments of the project.