Frey highlights Minneapolis' response to pandemic in State of the City address

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey gave an update on how the city is doing during the pandemic on Wednesday.

In his third State of the City address, which was recorded in his office and released online, Frey highlighted the city's response to the pandemic and its commitment to continuing to deliver core services. The speech comes as the city continues to take action to deal with an expected budget shortfall due to COVID-19.

"If you take away anything from this speech, let it be these two promises: our core city services will continue to be delivered with excellence, and we will prioritize first those who are struggling the most," Frey said.

In previous interviews, Frey said he's cautious when thinking about reopening businesses in Minneapolis, adding that health experts have told him the peak in the state's largest city might not hit until the summer.

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Earlier this month, the mayor launched a $5 million Gap Funding package to fund emergency assistance for low-income households and small businesses. Frey said the package is expected to help at least 1,500 households or 6,000 people with up to $1,500, and about between 220 and 440 small businesses with forgivable loans between $5,000 and $10,0000.

The first assistance checks for households are expected to be disbursed next week while the small business loans are expected to start going out in the next couple weeks.

The city has also taken action on wage and hiring freezes as it faces a projected budget deficit between $100 and $200 million dollars.

"As the season changes, I, too, feel the warmth of summer memories past. And today, I feel a cold sting when I realize the memories created this year will be substantially different. Our Minneapolis summer will, in many respects, need to take a backseat for what has rightly been dubbed the long winter ahead. We'd rather be the public servants who ruined summer and saved lives than those who saved summer and ruined lives. We'd rather be the city that acted on facts than the city that buried its head in the sands of ignorance," the Minneapolis Mayor said Wednesday. 

"Minnesota has amongst the lowest infection rate in the nation, and data shows that Minneapolis is on the right track. Our state is now home to the nation's strongest testing capacity. There are reasons for hope. But there are also stark warnings and the ever-present need to guard against complacency."

Frey said at last week's City Council meeting Minneapolis was applying for federal aid to help bridge the shortfall.

You can watch his full address here.