The Barbed Wire - July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020
Governor Announces Major Changes to Wildfire Sheltering and Evacuation Protocols Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Bill of the Week: AB 2296 (Quirk)- State Water Resources Control Board: Delegation: Funding Stabilization Program
Twenty-Eight RCRC Counties Need to Comply with Electric Vehicle Streamlining Law
CPUC Orders Wireless Carriers to Improve System Resiliency to PSPS Events: Incorporates Several Changes Suggested by RCRC
Rural Jurisdictions Receive $85 million in Infrastructure Grants
California Launches State Grants Portal
State Announces and Seeks Input on Federal 2018 Disaster Recovery Grants for Butte, Lake, and Shasta Counties
Water Resources Development Act Slated to Move Forward
House Democrats Move Environmental Aspects Through the Appropriations Process
Cannabis Banking
State Legislature’s Return Date Amended
RCRC Fourth Annual Rural County Photo Contest is Underway
BULLETIN BOARD
KEEPING UP
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ASSISTANCE

Governor Announces Major Changes to Wildfire Sheltering and Evacuation Protocols Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Last Thursday, Governor Newsom announced major shifts to the state’s usual evacuation and sheltering protocols in the event of a major wildfire in anticipation of this year’s ramp-up of fire season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes are designed to help protect both residents who are evacuating from their homes as well as first responders to effectively and safely mitigate the challenges of fire season while minimizing exposure to the novel Coronavirus.

While CAL FIRE, the state’s foremost fire suppression response agency, has already adjusted to COVID-19 by holding virtual briefings and conducting socially distanced drills to train for fire season, the Governor announced that new sheltering protocols in the event of wildfire evacuations will include:

  • Mandatory health screening on entry, including temperature checks;
  • Professional medical and mental health staff on site;
  • Dedicated cleaning and sanitizing staff at all evacuation locations; and,
  • Pre-packaged meals to prevent cross-contamination.

The state is also prepared to secure fairgrounds, campgrounds, hotels and other large facilities to allow individuals to shelter in non-congregate settings, particularly if they are high-risk or potentially suffering from COVID-19 and need to self-isolate.

Finally, the Governor also announced that CAL FIRE would be augmenting the state’s firefighting teams, with a planned 858 more firefighters to be added through October to help handle what is shaping up to be a tough wildfire season. For more on the Governor’s announcement, see the full press release here.

Bill of the Week: AB 2296 (Quirk)- State Water Resources Control Board: Delegation: Funding Stabilization Program

RCRC has lent its support for Assembly Bill 2296 (Quirk), which would offer a “fund stabilization” option for local jurisdictions to implement their Local Primacy Agency (LPA) drinking water oversight programs.

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is responsible for the oversight of public drinking water with 15 or more connections and regularly serving 25 or more people for at least 60 days out of the year. However, in thirty California counties, the responsibility has been delegated to the local health officer and administered through local Environmental Health programs through LPA Delegation Agreements. Over the past several years, program costs have outpaced the fee base, and a number of jurisdictions have surrendered their delegated authority back to the State. The situation has created some inequities among systems, particularly those serving disadvantaged communities who are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain appropriate levels of funding.

AB 2296 would enable counties who oversee their water system through LPA delegation agreements to provide the required level of system oversight with a more efficient use of limited resources. Specifically, AB 2296 changes the Public Drinking Water Oversight system to provide an opt-in/optional alternative funding mechanism by

  • Implementing and administering small public water system oversight fees statewide;
  • Aggregating public water system fees to fund state and local oversight staff;
  • Developing staffing formulas that maintain the appropriate level of oversight; and
  • Evaluating the SWRCB public water system fee schedule and adjusting as appropriate.

The bill would provide an opportunity for counties to secure sustainable funding for their LPA regulatory program, thus directing limited funds into providing safe drinking water to their communities. Funds will only be available upon appropriation by the Legislature. RCRC’s letter of support is available here. This legislation is currently in the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. At the time of this writing, it is unknown if and when a committee hearing will be scheduled. For more information, contact Mary-Ann Warmerdam, RCRC Senior Legislative Advocate at (916) 447-4806 or mwarmerdam@rcrcnet.org.

Twenty-Eight RCRC Counties Need to Comply with Electric Vehicle Streamlining Law

At the March 11th RCRC Board of Directors Meeting, representatives of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) gave an overview on the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Unit’s efforts to implement Assembly Bill 1236 (Chiu; 2015) and ultimately meet California’s goal of having 5 million ZEVs by 2030 (see memo here). AB 1236 mandated all municipalities to streamline electric vehicle (EV) charging station permits in order to expedite the availability of EV charging stations. This mandate was to be met by September 30, 2017.

On July 2nd, the ZEV Unit completed their efforts to map AB 1236 compliance (see here). Only 18% of all municipalities—including only 3 RCRC Member Counties—have taken action to adopt a model ordinance and other streamlining requirements for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging. Napa, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma Counties comply with the AB 1236 law, while Butte, Calaveras, Humboldt, Monterey, Tuolumne and Yolo Counties have taken proactive steps and are currently in the process of complying.

In May, RCRC along with its local governments partners led a successful effort to oppose AB 2168 (McCarty), a deemed approved permitting scheme for EV charging stations regardless if a municipality has a streamlined process. While many counties meet the spirit of the law and continue to issue building permits for EV charging, it is incumbent upon local governments to comply with all aspects of the EV charging streamlining law to prevent undesirable enforcement efforts that could negatively infringe on local building and planning departments.

GO-Biz continues to offer assistance to local government agencies (and businesses alike) on ZEV readiness and AB 1236 compliance, including best practices and streamlining templates. For more information, please utilize the GO-Biz contact form (click here) or reach the ZEV unit at zev@gobiz.ca.gov.

CPUC Orders Wireless Carriers to Improve System Resiliency to PSPS Events: Incorporates Several Changes Suggested by RCRC

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a Decision requiring wireless companies to take several actions to improve system planning and resiliency to maintain public health and welfare during disasters, including wildfires and Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events. RCRC has been an active party in this proceeding and its testimony was relied upon by the CPUC to justify its decision.  RCRC supported the Proposed Decision while also requesting six changes (see here), four of which were adopted by the CPUC. RCRC supported the establishment of minimum service levels and coverage requirements, which include 9-1-1 and 2-1-1 service, as well as the ability to receive emergency alerts and notifications and basic internet browsing during a disaster or power outage. While RCRC urged the CPUC to expand the resiliency requirements to include wireless facilities that lost power in two or more PSPS events, the CPUC declined to adopt those changes.

Overall, the CPUC Decision:

  • Defines wireless resiliency as the ability to recover from or adjust to adversity or change through an array of strategies including, but not limited to: backup power, redundancy, network hardening, temporary facilities, communication and coordination with other utilities, emergency responders, the public and finally, preparedness planning;
  • Adopts a 72-hour minimum service coverage requirement during grid outages or disasters;
  • Requires wireless providers to file resiliency and emergency plans that detail their ability to maintain a minimum level of service and coverage during a disaster or a commercial power grid outage;
  • Transitions away from diesel back-up generators to renewable backup generation; and
  • Directs the wireless providers to submit annual emergency operations plans.

These wireless resiliency requirements are for facilities based in Tier 2 and Tier 3 High Fire Threat Districts only (see map here), but future actions as part of this proceeding are likely to impose similar requirements on wireline communications providers.

Rural Jurisdictions Receive $85 million in Infrastructure Grants

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has awarded $85 million from the Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) program to rural communities throughout the state for infrastructure improvements that support the development of affordable and mixed-income housing. This funding represents twice as many awards, and four times as much money, for small jurisdictions than the past three IIG funding rounds combined.

The IIG program provides grants to fund the construction of infrastructure necessary for housing development. RCRC advocated for specific funding and eligibility requirements for small-population jurisdictions to assist housing production in rural areas that lack sufficient infrastructure to produce affordable housing. The 2019 IIG program, an augmentation of the IIG program that has been in existence since 2013, was part of the State Budget Package last year, allocating a total of $279 million in program funding, of which $85 million was set aside for small jurisdictions. A full list of awards can be found here.

California Launches State Grants Portal

Over $17 billion across 100 plus wide-ranging grants is up for grabs to public agencies, as well as other entities including tribes and businesses. Numerous state agencies, in collaboration with the California State Library, have consolidated their grant and loan opportunities in a centralized portal with details on such funding for grant seekers. Grants are available in the areas of Disaster Prevention and Relief, Economic Development, Housing and many others. For complete details, please visit https://www.grants.ca.gov.

State Announces and Seeks Input on Federal 2018 Disaster Recovery Grants for Butte, Lake, and Shasta Counties

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announced the availability of over $1 billion in federal 2018 Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds. Funds are proposed to be used through 2026 on housing, infrastructure, economic recovery, and planning related to unmet needs resulting from 2018 Presidentially declared disasters in Butte, Lake, Los Angeles, Shasta, and Ventura Counties. The program contemplates the following funding allocations:

  • Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation and Reconstruction - $205.1 million
  • Multi-Family and Small Rental Housing - $250.7 million
  • Infrastructure - $317.4 million
  • Workforce Development - $40.7 million
  • Planning - $86.2 million
  • State and Local Program Delivery - $66.4 million
  • State and Local Administration - $50.9 million

The Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program provides up to $200,000 per damaged structure for any impacted homeowner in those disaster-impacted areas; however, exceptions to the cap will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the applicant has a demonstrable hardship. Eligible activities include rehabilitation, reconstruction, or new construction of single-family owner-occupied homes, repair and replacement of manufactured housing units, hazard mitigation, demolition, and relocation assistance.

The Multifamily/Small Rental Housing Program is allocated to each county to meet unmet rental housing needs, including apartment complexes and mixed-use development; however, rental assistance will also be available for landlords with 1-4 units. Funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Butte County - $152.6 million ($61.3 million for the County and the remainder for Chico, Gridley, Oroville, and Paradise).
  • Lake County - $10 million ($7.6 million for the County and $2.4 million for Lakeport)
  • Los Angeles County - $29.4 million
  • Shasta County - $23.2 million ($4.3 million for the County and the remainder for Redding, Anderson, and Shasta Lake)
  • Ventura County - $3.4 million

The Infrastructure Recovery Program provides funding for repair and enhancement of local infrastructure and mitigation efforts.  HCD will issue a NOI for these projects and jurisdictions in the impacted counties will be eligible to apply for funding.

The Workforce Development Program is intended to provide job training to low and moderate-income participants in construction trades. HCD will conduct a statewide grant application process for this program, which is to be administered through local nonprofit organizations. HCD may also provide a small business recovery program if additional funding becomes available.

Planning funds will be available for local governments to develop resilience and mitigation plans and update specified areas of their General Plans. While HCD will retain some of the funds for state-level planning, it is unclear how much funding will be passed through to the local level.

Water Resources Development Act Slated to Move Forward

On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Full Committee unanimously advanced its bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) (HR. 7575) to the floor. During the five-hour-long markup, a number of amendments were withdrawn in order to maintain a broadly bipartisan approach to the measure. However, Committee members did approve a manager's amendment making a series of minor changes to the bill, including provisions to fund “the waterways of the counties that comprise the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as well as flood risk management for the Lower Cache Creek (Yolo County).

If WRDA passes in the House of Representatives, where House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) has slated the measure for consideration during the week of July 27th, the measure would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction on 34 new water resources projects and study the feasibility of 35 potential projects, although each of those projects would later have to compete for a share of the agency's roughly $6 billion annual appropriation. The bill also includes a number of policy provisions to reform the red tape-laden agency, many of which aim to boost resilience and increase emphasis on nature-based approaches to dealing with flooding and other water resource challenges.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved its version of the WRDA bill,America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (S. 3591) in June, along with a related measure focused on drinking water infrastructure. Click here for the WRDA Section by Section; click here for the WRDA Fact Sheet; click here for the WRDA Bill Text; and, click here for a detailed interactive map of authorized projects and studies.

House Democrats Move Environmental Aspects Through the Appropriations Process

Last Friday, the House Appropriations Committee approved the $36.8 billion funding bill for the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies on a party-line vote of 30-19. The Committee sent the measure (HR 7612) to the floor after voting down a handful of Republican-sponsored amendments seeking to strip provisions that would block Trump Administration environmental policies at the EPA. The package, which will represent House Democrats’ ante to funding negotiations with Senate Republicans and the White House, has been characterized as a nonstarter by Congressional Republicans for emergency spending included in appropriations measures. The measure now heads to the House floor for consideration where Democratic leaders hope to complete votes on the full slate of funding measures by the end of the month. Click here for the Bill Summary; and, click here for HR. 7612 Bill Text.

 

RCRC Priorities of interest included in the package include:

$1.6 billion for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an increase of $37 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $201 million above the President’s budget request. Within this amount, the bill includes $78 million for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants,an increase of $11 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $47 million above the President’s budget request.

 

$4.36 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants, an increase of $119 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $1.52 billion above the President’s budget request. Within this amount, the bill includes:

  • $2.76 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, equal to the enacted level and $782 million above the President’s budget request.
  • $189 million for targeted grants for drinking water contaminants and wastewater treatment for lead, nitrates, and other health hazards, an increase of $36 million above the enacted level and $86 million above the request.
  • $90 million for Brownfields cleanups, a $1 million increase above the FY 2020 enacted level and $10 million increase above the President’s budget request.
  • $90 million for Diesel Emissions Reduction grants, an increase of $3 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $80 million above the President’s budget request.

 

Land and Water Conservation Fund – The bill does not contain discretionary funding but rather provides allocations for the estimated $900 million which will be made available in FY 2021.

Wildland Fire Management – The bill provides $5.73 billion, which includes $2.35 billion in cap adjusted fire suppression funding. The total funding is $174.13 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $35.45 million below the President’s budget request.

Related Agencies – $3.13 billion for the Forest Service, an increase of $134.2 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $196.71 million above the President’s budget request.

Additional Infrastructure Investments – In addition to the investments made in the above titles, the bill provides an additional $15 billion in emergency infrastructure investments for the Bureau of Indian Education, Environmental Protection Agency, and Indian Health Service.

 

$13 billion in additional funds for Environmental Protection Agency infrastructure grants, including:

  • $10.2 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.
  • $1 billion for Superfund program for site remediation.
  • $950 million for targeted water infrastructure grants for lead pipe replacement, sewer overflow control, and for small and disadvantaged communities.
  • $350 million for Brownfields grants.
  • $450 million for Diesel Emissions Reduction (DERA) grants.

Cannabis Banking

Democrats in the House of Representatives have inserted language allowing financial institutions to serve cannabis businesses into the 2021 Financial Services and General Government Appropriation bill. This is the House’s third attempt at passing some/all of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, commonly referred to as the SAFE Act, since last summer. If passed, the language would ban the use of federal funds to penalize any bank or credit union that serves a cannabis business. The Senate, meanwhile, is returning from break to consider their own coronavirus package next week, which industry advocates hope will include cannabis banking.

State Legislature’s Return Date Amended

Last Thursday, after confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases among legislators and staff within the State Capitol, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced an amended 2020 Legislative Session return date from July 13th to July 27th.

Both the State Senate and the Assembly were scheduled to resume legislative hearings on July 13th, beginning the last leg of the legislative calendar that ends August 31st. However, in their joint statement, the legislative leaders amended the return date in order to minimize potential COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the State Capitol. Leaders in the Legislature must decide how to process the remaining 700 bills. It is believed legislative calendars will be adjusted to accommodate committee hearings and full sessions schedules as appropriate.

For more information regarding state legislative activities, please contact the RCRC Governmental Affairs staff at (916) 447-4806.

RCRC Fourth Annual Rural County Photo Contest is Underway

The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) Fourth Annual Rural County Photo Contest is underway. Submissions are due no later than July 31, 2020. The contest invites amateur photographers to capture life in rural California by showcasing the beautiful scenery, activities, communities, history, and charm of RCRC’s 37 member counties.

Photo entries should be sent to photocontest@rcrcnet.org. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on July 31, 2020 and must include:

  • Location where the photo was taken, including the county in which it was taken; and
  • Photographer’s full name and email address.

The grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift card, and the winning photograph will be unveiled at the September RCRC Board of Directors Meeting. Contest details, a printable flyer, and official rules are available here.

BULLETIN BOARD

Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.
 

CalPERS Webinar for Employers

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, CalPERS is hosting a webinar titled, "CalPERS and Employers: Fiscal Year Returns, Cost Impacts and Our Path Forward". CalPERS leaders, including CEO Marcie Frost, will address the most pressing pension issues for contracting employers, with a focus on projected costs and the path towards funding benefits for public employees.

Topics include:

  • Fiscal year 2019-20 investment returns
  • The investment team's new approach to capturing the 7% returns needed to fund benefits
  • Options to employers severe near term fiscal challenges
  • Timing and methodology of applying investments gains and losses to employer contribution rates
  • Tools available to employers to help manage costs
  • Membership, reporting and payroll matters arising from COVID-19

Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

To participate in the webinar, register here.

 

CPUC Surveys Local Governments

In an effort to improve the quality of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC’s) engagement with local governments and their associated communities, the CPUC is requesting feedback to assess the quality of their outreach and engagement experiences. To participate, please submit your responses here by July 24, 2020.

 

HCD Announces the Release of the Homekey Notice of Funding Availability

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has announced the release of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $600 million in Homekey funds. The grant funding is available to cities, counties , or other local public entities within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, as well as hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing. Prior to submitting an application, all applicants are required to engage in a pre-application consultation. Priority Applications are due by August 13, 2020 and all applications are due by September 29, 2020. Attend the Homekey Webinar on July 24, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (register now) or visit the Homekey webpage to learn more.

 

Career Opportunities

  • Tehama County Seeks Director of Public Works- UPDATED

Tehama County is inviting applications for the position of Director of Public Works. The application deadline has been extended to August 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. To apply or for more information, details are available as a PDF or online here

  • Colusa County Seeks Assistant Director of Public Work/Road Commissioner

The county of Colusa is accepting applications for the position of Assistant Director of Public Work/Road Commissioner. The position is open until filled. Details are available here.

  • Butte County Seeks Chief Administrative Officer

Butte County is recruiting for the position of Chief Administrative Officer. The filing deadline is July 20, 2020. To apply or for more information, see the announcement here.

  • SRTA Seeks Chief Fiscal Officer

Shasta Regional Transportation Agency (SRTA) is seeking a Chief Fiscal Officer. Position details are available here. The position is open until filled. See the SRTA website for updates and submission information.

 

Amendment to the Federal 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released an amendment to the federal 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The NOFA applies to state CDBG non-entitlement cities and counties applying for funding under Community Development activities, Special Allocations for Economic Development, Colonia, and Native American Communities.

This amendment only affects the Economic Development (ED) set-aside and:

  • Removes the competitive process, allowing all applications, both program and project, to be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Extends the ED program application deadline to September 15, 2020.
  • Makes other changes to program activity limits and requirements for proof of capacity, while providing more local flexibility in ED program design and implementation.

You can access the 2019-2020 CDBG NOFA amendment and links to the online application here.

 

PG&E Weekly Public Webinars on Wildfire Safety and PSPS Mitigation Efforts

PG&E is holding weekly public webinars at which it will provide information on local Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) and wildfire safety efforts, including how it will make PSPS events smaller in size and shorter in duration, efforts to install new grid technology and harden electrical infrastructure, and enhanced vegetation management activities.

Webinars will take place on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Webinars have taken place for many counties. The remaining webinars are scheduled as follows:

  • July 22 – Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties  (join webinar here)
  • July 29 – San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Kern Counties  (join webinar here)
  • August 5 – Tulare, Madera, and Fresno Counties  (join webinar here)
  • August 12 – All-Customer Webinar (join webinar here)
  • August 19 – All-Customer Webinar (join webinar here)

See a full schedule, find information to join a webinar by phone, or view past presentations here.

 

COVID-Related Extensions Possible on CDBG Annual Performance Reports

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announced that the State Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for non-entitlement jurisdictions requires all CDBG Recipients to submit Annual Performance Reports (APRs) documenting any activity that occurred during fiscal year 2019/2020. The reporting period covers July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. APR documents must be completed and submitted via email to CDBG.Reports@hcd.ca.gov by Friday, July 31, 2020. If the deadline can’t be met due to circumstances caused by COVID-19, please email Francisco Arnaiz outlining the reasons for requesting an extension and the date you expect to submit the report. Additional details are available in the HCD announcement here.

 

2020 Sustainable Groundwater Management Watershed Coordinator (SGMA) Grant Program

A new 2020 Sustainable Groundwater Management Watershed Coordinator (SGMA) Grant Program is being launched at the Department of Conservation. Grants are being offered for watershed coordinators in parts of the state impacted by implementation of SGMA. Information about the program can be found hereApplications are due by 11:59 p.m. on September 15, 2020. A solicitation and application has been posted here.

Please contact Department of Conservation watershed program staff with questions or comments via email at wcp@conservation.ca.gov or phone at (916) 324-0850.

 

RCRC Annual Meeting in Napa County Cancelled

The RCRC Annual Meeting 2020 has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This meeting was scheduled to occur in Napa County this September. Several factors led to this difficult decision, most notably, current and future state and local government guidelines. Planning is underway to hold a future Annual Meeting in Napa – most likely in 2022 – in order to enjoy the beauty of the County as well as contribute to its economic recovery. More information on the return to Napa will be forthcoming after consideration and action by the RCRC Board of Directors.

KEEPING UP

Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.

Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Senior Legislative Advocate for the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), has been appointed as a new commissioner on the University of California, Agricultural and National Resources (UC ANR) President’s Advisory Commission (PAC). The UC ANR PAC was established in 1998 to strengthen communication with California’s agricultural and rural communities as well as re-invigorate the University’s land grand mission and build greater utility for the ANR research and Cooperative Extension missions. Ms. Warmerdam has worked on agricultural, natural resource and rural public policy issues for most of her career. Before joining the RCRC team, Warmerdam served as U.S. Regulatory Lead with the Clorox Company working with key state and federal agencies on chemical management, pesticide, water quality and related environmental issues. She served as the Director of California Department of Pesticide Regulation from 2004 to mid-2011. Mary-Ann has also served as the General Manager of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District; Managing Director of the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Public Affairs Division; and worked for a brief period with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s State Affairs Office. Mary-Ann and her husband, Robert Falconer, own a small farm in northern Yolo County. Mary-Ann has an MBA from CSU Fresno and completed the California Agricultural Leadership Program and the Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Certification Program. This appointment was approved by UC President Napolitano last week.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ASSISTANCE

Resource pages, deadline extensions, and available programs to assist communities impacted by COVID-19.
 

DWR Provides Tips for Holding Online Meetings to Address Groundwater Sustainability Plans

 

As Groundwater Sustainability Plans are being developed to meet the January 2022 deadline, several counties (and water agencies) have asked for advice for engaging stakeholders and interested parties through online resources. In response to community interest, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Sustainable Groundwater Management Office has put together examples, tips, and tactics to consider. The DWR tips are available here.

 

Coronavirus Relief Available from the Small Business Administration

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering several coronavirus relief options to help alleviate the financial hardships resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The programs have received an overwhelming number of applications from businesses, so be sure to check the SBA website for the latest updates on the status of these programs.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program. After initial funding was quickly depleted, the program received an infusion of an additional $310 billion, allowing the SBA to resume the program on April 27, 2020. Be sure to check the SBA website for the most recent information on the application process and availability of funds.
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans can be used to bridge the gap for businesses while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan; small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • SBA Debt Relief provides a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are interested in programs for other disasters, the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance portal is available here.

 

Economic Development Resources for Communities and Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

The California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) has assembled resources for communities and business impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The page will be continually evolving as new resources become available. To go directly to the CALED resources, click here.

 

Use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds for Infectious Disease Response

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds may be used for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Check out the Quick Guide to CDBG Eligible Activities to Support Infectious Disease Response for guidance and additional information.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) County Resource Page Available

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC), RCRC’s local government partner, continues to provide excellent up-to-date state and federal information to counties on this ever-changing pandemic event. We encourage visiting CSAC’s COVID-19 resource page, which contains vital links to all CSAC COVID-19 advocacy letters and resources. CSAC’s staff continues to work around the clock to update activities so that all of California’s counties can remain properly informed.