Monday, October 18, 2021

Federal aid helps cover losses in cities in Orange County

Cities in Orange County, California, are using their $ 350 billion US Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) shares to rebuild from the economically crippling CCP virus pandemic.

The federal aid is meant to reduce the economic damage and recover lost income during the pandemic. Each of Orange County’s 34 cities receives a share of about $ 715 million from the ARPA, which will be divided into two parts, one year apart.

Each city uses the ARPA’s funding guidelines in the following areas: economic assistance to households, small businesses, non-profit organizations, tourism and hospitality; premium payment for essential workers; government services affected by a revenue cut due to the CCP virus; private non-profit groups, public corporate transportation companies, and special purposes of state or local governments.

An Anaheim spokesman said the tourist city plans to use ARPA funds to replace lost revenue by closing the Disneyland theme parks, the Anaheim Convention Center and sports venues such as Angels Stadium.

Anaheim’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget faces a $ 100 million deficit, which will continue into the next financial year, when the deficit is expected to rise further.

“We’ve lost our main resource over the past year,” Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster told The Epoch Times. “We will use it to replace lost revenue.”

The city received its first payment in May of approximately $ 53.5 million and will collect a total of $ 107 million by the end of the next financial year.

“It basically helps us cover part of the deficit this year, and part of it next year,” Lyster said.

He said the city needs to borrow about $ 150 million in bonds to make up the remaining deficit.

“If we had not received federal aid, we would have had to borrow more, and we are not a city that takes lightly.”

The Anaheim city government had no layoffs, Lyster said. However, the city offered an early retirement program that provided incentives for early retirement, and about 90 people followed the route.

Lyster said if the city did not receive the ARPA funds, the city would have to cut back on essential services, such as the city’s police and fire department, and public works.

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“It was not really an option for us to cut ourselves off,” he said. “The cuts would have been too great and would have had a huge impact on what we do as a city, serving residents.”

Despite the hole left by the CCP virus pandemic in Anaheim, Lyster said the city is happy because of its various assets and investment plans.

Lyster said: “If we look ahead and we see expansion through Disney and theme parks and building around Angel Stadium, we see a bright future because these things will generate revenue for us.”

Irvine receives a one-time payment of $ 53.2 million. However, it is unclear where the city intends to allocate the money.

“Our plans are still in motion for the U.S. rescue plan funds,” Irvine spokeswoman Kristina Perrigoue told The Epoch Times in an email on June 17.

Santa Ana receives a total of $ 130 million through ARPA. The city will receive $ 79.5 million in the first installment.

Santa Ana announced its ARPA spending strategy at a May 24 board meeting.

The city has proposed spending $ 6 million on repairing the pandemic through local vaccinations, expanding critical methods of communication in the city and sanitation efforts.

An additional $ 20.6 million is budgeted for immediate assistance programs, such as the emergency aid program for rent, housing permits, food distribution and the reopening of business assistance.

Santa Ana plans to spend $ 14 million on public health and safety, and the bulk of the amount will fund extra space in Santa Anita Park, access to healthy food and upgraded park toilets.

About $ 24 million will be spent on critical infrastructure, including affordable broadband access, improvements to the central library and pedestrian and mobility improvements.

About $ 14.9 million will be spent on the city’s fiscal health to lose revenue in certain government services.

The city wants to allocate $ 38.4 million to reduce and respond to homelessness, including navigation centers and shelters for homeless people, outreach and cleaning.

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