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First District News
Weekly Board Update
March COVID-19 Special Edition
A Budget, or A Best Guess? When you have a projected decline of incoming revenues of somewhere between $50 million and $100 million, you have an increase in wages, benefits and pension costs for nearly 24,000 employees, you have legal obligations to provide certain levels of services as mandated by the State (county governments are created by authority of the State and must deliver certain services as required by the State), and you top that off with a growing population with growing demands to be met, something has to give.
Add to the mix that most of the public safety departments (Public Defender, District Attorney, Probation, Sheriff, Corrections, etc.) are faced with growing costs and/or growing workloads. And as if that is not enough, our social service and health agencies are also facing those very same growing populations and increased service demands. We then toss in the ongoing financial and personnel costs of the countywide COVID response and its social and economic impacts, you can’t help but wonder when we (Riverside County & California) will get to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
So, to make a long story short, a temporary county budget was passed roughly a week ago on a 3-2 vote to keep some public safety departments and some social services at their current staffing levels, while most other departments took some pretty big cuts. On top of that over 2,000 vacant employee positions were eliminated. Depending on what happens next with the state budget, any future federal bailouts, and critical tax revenues from the private sector, the final budget vote (with all its updates) will likely be held in late September. Government is only as financially strong and stable as the private sector, so if we do not rebound soon, we could have many government services boarded just up like the businesses who have closed up shop. We are all in this one together.
Federal COVID Grant Money for Businesses, Non-Profits, and Renters! While the County is required by law to balance its budget, the federal government continues to print more money for aid and assistance, and the County is using this money for a variety of COVID related grants to businesses, non-profits, and those who need rental assistance. The business grants (up to $10,000) announced earlier, have now expanded to sole proprietors and family businesses without employees operating in Riverside County. For more information visit: https://rivcoccsd.org/. Non-profits who assist our communities can also apply for grant funds of up to $10,000 to help with COVID related costs or losses beginning July 1st at: https://www.iegives.org/new-aid-available-for-riverside-county-nonprofits/ Those who need rental assistance (up to $3,500) can apply for aid here: https://www.unitedlift.org/
Don’t forget... Census. If you have not yet completed and turned in your 2020 census, please be sure to get this done. Your neighborhood, your community, and your county (and our local cities) all depend on those census forms being completed and turned in. https://2020census.gov/
Weed Abatement. Fire Season is here and in many communities some serious weed eating work still needs to be done to help protect our homes, our neighbors and to help our local firefighters help us.
Latest COVID Stats and Guidance. While most businesses have been allowed to reopen in Riverside County, the virus continues to be a danger for all of us. For the latest Riverside County virus stats and guidance on how to conduct business and other activities safely, please visit: https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus. Note: While COVID testing numbers are increasing, an important stat that I keep an eye is our available ICU beds at all of our hospitals across the county. ICU beds are commonly utilized for serious traffic accidents, traumatic injuries, heart attacks, etc. As of yesterday 31% of countywide ICU beds were filled by confirmed COVID patients with all other types of patients filling almost all of the remaining ICU beds. Fortunately the hospitals have very significant surge capacity available to handle any additional needs for our county.
As always, feel free to email (or call) our office with your suggestions or questions.
More Streets Paved in our Mead Valley Community
Recently our Transportation Department was able to pave Elmwood Ave and a small portion of Day Street. This was done in advance of our Cajalco Safety Project which is currently in progress on Cajalco which will include road widening, new bus stops, larger intersections, and a new traffic signal at Day Street and Cajalco.