At the May 19th board meeting, Chairwoman Steel and Supervisor Wagner proposed a $101 million in CARES Act Funding for a Business Recovery Program. Under their proposal, $75 million would have been allocated to cities to support small businesses and $26 million would have been set aside to cover reimbursements for eligible city costs. The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved of $26 million in CARES Act funding to will reimburse Orange County cities that incurred direct costs due to the COVID-19 lockdown. CARES Act funding restricts the use of funds to cover direct costs of COVID-19, and will not cover revenue losses. The $26 million would be available to cover expenses not reimbursable by the state and federal government.
Unfortunately, in a 3-2 vote, the board rejected an additional $75 million in CARES Act funding to a Business Recovery Grant Program to be administered by cities. Thirty-one of 34 mayors in Orange County had supported the proposal. The 3-2 vote strips local officials of their powers to allocate essential aid for the businesses negatively affected by our state-mandated lockdowns.
To best accommodate differences between supervisorial offices and to allocate funds to businesses as quickly as possible, Chairwoman Steel and Supervisor Wagner will focus on giving each Supervisorial district $15 million, instead of allocating funds to each city.
“I am dedicated to assisting the struggling small businesses in Orange County,” said Chairwoman Steel. “This money is essential, and we are looking to see how we can get this funding to our cities and businesses as quickly as possible.”
“I am beyond disappointed by the unnecessary delay in dispersing funding to our cities. Local leadership wanted this funding, the businesses wanted it, and the people wanted it,” said Supervisor Wagner. “I still plan to give $15 million to the cities in my District. I want the Mayors in my district to prepare for the receipt and disbursement of the stimulus money.”
Chairwoman Steel and Supervisor Wagner hope our small businesses see relief sooner rather than later.