Valley Center, CA
June 9, 2023
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Mostly cloudy

VC Fire to get 78K from COVID relief

Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to allocate over $600 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. These dollars, which have been distributed by the Federal Government, are intended for COVID-19 relief.
The money will be widely distributed to help restaurants in San Diego County hard hit by COVID, to help youth sports and camps, broadband for unincorporated areas, child care subsidies, mental health, food assistance and stimulus grants to small businesses.

Fire District Aid
Fire Special Protection Districts within Supervisor Jim Desmond’s 5th District were allocated $4 million to reimburse them for COVID-19 expenditures.
Valley Center Fire Protection District’s share of that is $77,800, according to Desmond’s office.
Two weeks ago VC Fire Chief Joe Napier issued this statement: “As the fire chief of a special fire protection district serving nearly 23,000 residents in Valley Center we are the ‘department of the quality of life’ for our community. COVID hit us in a way that has been tremendously impactful and with the coming wildfire season that is expected to be as significant as last year we are going to really need the assistance of these American rescue funds to help us perform our mission of protection of life property and the environment.”
Someone was listening.
Reacting to the grant, Chief Napier commented, “The Valley Center Fire Protection District appreciates the support and recognition from Supervisor Desmond and his staff of the operational, emotional and fiscal impact of COVID-19 in our community. The Valley Center Fire Protection District, as with other Special Districts in the State of California were left out of a direct funding mechanism to receive American Rescue Plan Act funds to relieve the financial stress that was placed on the Districts from COVID-19. We applaud the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for recognizing this and carving out a part of the County’s ARPA direct funding apportionment to assist Special Districts in their time of need.”
After Tuesday’s vote Desmond commented, “The way I approached this: these are taxpayer dollars and I believe it should be given back to the people who were most impacted by the pandemic. As we all know, the past 15 months, have been incredibly difficult, but my hope is these dollars will help San Diegans as we recover from the pandemic!”
Some others who will get portions of the $600 million pie are listed below.

Waiving Fees for Restaurants and Events
The board also voted to waive the fees for both restaurants and special events. The cost for these fees is about $9 million in total but will be paid for by the ARPA dollars.
Note: “Events” in this case does NOT relate to events such as the upcoming Western Days. Instead, according to Desmond’s office it’s “county facilities.”
Desmond commented on the funding: “The restaurant and special events industries have been some of the hardest hit over the last year. Restaurants have suffered from opening, closing, purchasing equipment outside, only to be shut down once again. Special events, like street fairs, concerts, and food festivals haven’t been able to operate for over 14 months. As we head towards a full reopening, I want to make sure we do all we can to help the recovery of these businesses.”

Youth Sports/Camps Grant Program
The board allocated $2 million towards a grant program for youth sports and youth camp tuitions. Children were greatly impact over the last 14 months, from virtual learning to not being able to play sports.
“Youth sports participation is down in San Diego County, and I don’t want money to be the reason,” said Desmond.

Child Care Subsidies
The board also voted to allocate $16 million to provide vouchers to families in need, grants to child care providers, workforce training and investments in child care facilities.

Broadband for the Unincorporated Area
The board also voted to allocate $10 million for broadband services in San Diego County.

Mental Health Services
The board voted to allocate $32 million for behavioral health needs for children, youth and families. Stakeholder groups will develop and implement a plan that best addresses the needs of those involved.

Food Assistance
Many senior citizens and those unable to leave their homes suffered during the pandemic. The board allocated $9 million to food distribution programs.
Food banks and meal delivery programs will assist those who are in need of meals, but unable to afford or access this necessary nutrition.

Small Business Stimulus Grant
The Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is funded by Board of Supervisors from the federal CARES Act funding and County General Fund. The grant funding provides economic assistance to help businesses and nonprofit entities impacted by COVID-19.
Financial assistance will be allocated to eligible, qualified small businesses and nonprofit entities with final award recommendations made by individual district offices based on the availability of funds, program guidelines, and the submission of all required information and supporting documentation.
Everyone must fill out a new application if they want to receive the third round of funding.

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