The Anne Arundel County Council will meet virtually at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning in an emergency session to introduce legislation that will create a mechanism to handle federal coronavirus funds, officials said.
The meeting, via the virtual meeting site Zoom, will be broadcast on Arundel Live TV or local television channels. Members of the public also have the option of dialing into the conference-style meeting by using a designated phone number and meeting code.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said on Thursday that the bill will create a mechanism to deploy federal funds coming to the county to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. They are expecting around $100 million, some of which will be used to provide immediate relief in the county, and some of which will be saved to respond to the lingering effects of the virus.
The decision to go all-digital was made as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the state, sickening nearly 7,000 in just about one month. There are at least 554 confirmed cases in Anne Arundel County, and 16 residents have died.
The emergency bill will be introduced Tuesday morning, and then heard and voted on at the council’s normally scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. on April 20.
It’s unclear right now when the federal funds will get to the county, or exactly what the mechanism to handle the funds will look like.
The council will also meet remotely on April 20, and options for public viewing are expected to be similar. In previous meetings where oral testimony was unsafe, the council still allowed the public to submit written testimony via email to email@example.com.
No other legislation will be up for hearings or votes until further notice, as Pittman recently signed an executive order suspending the legal and procedural deadlines in the county until at least 30 days after the state of emergency is terminated.
This means local bills are effectively paused on the day of legislative life they were on, and will not expire while the county council attempts to deal with the pandemic, or be forced to proceed with a hearing or vote in a meeting that is not physically open to the public just to meet a deadline.