The Barbed Wire: SPECIAL EDITION - April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020
State Legislature Slated to Return on May 4th
CTC Offers Second Workshop on April 9th for Local Streets and Roads Funding Program Eligibility Schedule Revisions
Property Tax Deadline Approaches April 10th
USFS Announces Additional Closures on the Stanislaus National Forest
Small Business Relief - Paycheck Protection Program Update
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ASSISTANCE
Catch Up on Past Stories

State Legislature Slated to Return on May 4th

Last Friday, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) announced the 2020 Legislative Session will resume on Monday, May 4th – assuming the guidance of public health officials warrants. This comes as the Legislature has been in recess since mid-March as California continues to grapple with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The new return date is in response to a previous return date of April 13th; however, given the guidance of public health officials who seek to minimize COVID-19 infections, mid-April would be too soon to ensure a safe level public health.

During the current recess period, RCRC staff continues to monitor and work with key legislative staff on pending legislation that impacts California’s rural counties. To date, it is unclear how the traditional process of considering and acting upon bills will occur as the timeframe begins to compress. For more information regarding state legislative activities, please contact the RCRC Governmental Affairs staff at (916) 447-4806.

CTC Offers Second Workshop on April 9th for Local Streets and Roads Funding Program Eligibility Schedule Revisions

Due to abundant demand, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has added a second workshop for Local Streets and Roads Funding Eligibility Schedule Revisions from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on April 9, 2020. The first workshop, scheduled at an earlier time that same day, has exceeded capacity.

Many agencies have postponed their public meetings through April, consequently delaying the adoption of 2020-21 Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account Funding Eligibility Project List-Resolutions. These workshops, offered by the CTC, are being held to discuss and solicit feedback regarding alternate eligibility schedules for the Local Streets and Roads Funding Program.

If you are not already registered for the 1:00 p.m. workshop and would like to participate, register now for the 3:00 p.m. workshop by clicking this link.

Priority in registration will be given to regional agencies, and local cities and counties in order to ensure they have the opportunity to participate. Additional information about the workshop is available here. Again, it should be stressed that due to limited space in this workshop, only senior county transportation personnel should participate.

Property Tax Deadline Approaches April 10th

The second installment of property taxes in California are due April 10th. While a large segment of the business sector has requested the Governor issue a formal delay, RCRC, along with other county and local government advocates, has been actively working to ensure the April 10th deadline remains unchanged.

In mid-March, RCRC joined our municipal partners to urge Governor Newsom to retain the April 10th deadline, highlighting that nearly all local agencies rely upon tax receipts for municipal services. The letter to Governor Newsom is available here. The following week RCRC, along with other county advocates, called upon CoreLogic and Lereta to be leaders of CORTAC entities by remitting 2nd installment property taxes prior to the April 10th deadline. The CORTAC letter may be viewed here. It is our understanding that CoreLogic has remitted, ahead of the April 10th deadline, to Treasurer/Tax Collectors throughout the state.

On Saturday, Governor Newsom applauded in a press release the commitment made by counties to address the waiving of penalties and interest for those late payors, saying “This is good news for Californians. I would like to thank the California State Association of Counties and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors for committing to providing economic relief for residents and small businesses facing hardships due to COVID-19,”

USFS Announces Additional Closures on the Stanislaus National Forest

On Monday, United States Forest Service (USFS) Region 5 announced closures of popular roads for visitors and the extension of seasonal road closures to help promote social distancing and advance the directives of Governor Newsom’s Stay-At-Home Order in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement comes in the wake of a recent request by RCRC to the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior for help with targeted closures of the state’s federal lands in areas where counties are currently being overwhelmed by non-resident visitation.

While many RCRC counties welcome the continued benefits offered by federal lands remaining open, some areas such as the Stanislaus National Forest have been seeing an unmanageable level of visitation from non-locals, raising concerns from counties about the ability to provide medical and other services should the level of COVID-19 cases suddenly rise from the increased activity. Region 5 worked diligently with Tuolumne County to identify targeted areas for closure to help alleviate the issue, which include Buchanan Mine Road, Cottonwood Road, Cherry Lake Road, Lumsden Road, Candy Rock Road, Beardsley Road and Highway 108 Snowpark and will remain in effect through April 30, 2020.

RCRC’s letters to the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Interior requesting federal land closures upon local government request can be viewed here:

Small Business Relief - Paycheck Protection Program Update

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering several coronavirus relief options to help alleviate the financial hardships resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Last Friday, the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided hope for small business owners in need of assistance. Unfortunately, unclear/incomplete guidelines left many lenders unable to accept applications on opening day. And, borrowers, with unanswered questions, are trying to determine how to move forward in a manner most likely to conform to regulations that require further clarification. Despite the difficulties, the federal government has publicly committed to fixing the glitches. Late Monday night, the SBA released FAQs that add clarity. The document will be updated regularly.

In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, and the newly-established Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act also established other new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak, including:

As many small business owners and sole proprietors in rural California work tirelessly to navigate the complexities of the moment, communities are coming together to find creative solutions to face the challenge. Farms are banding together to offer drive-thru produce pick-up for residents while fewer restaurants are open for business. Wineries are offering virtual wine tastings for residents who order tasting kits online. And, local specialty shops are providing remote ordering and home delivery on bicycles. The approach businesses are taking to get through these unprecedented times are as unique and varied as the individuals who run them.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ASSISTANCE

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.

 

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.

 

Federal Disaster Loan Assistance Available from the Small Business Administration

Applications are now being accepted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for federal disaster loans to help alleviate economic injury caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). All fifty-eight (58) California counties are designated as eligible. To apply, please visit SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance portal here.