Economic recovery for nonprofits, SM Pier tenets, homelessness and more to get stimulus funds
By Sam Catanzaro
Santa Monica lawmakers have allocated $29.3 million in federal stimulus relief funds, targeting economic recovery for local nonprofits, Pier business and homelessness efforts, among other sectors.
Santa Monica City Council April 13 provided initial direction on how to allocate $29.3 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Under Council direction, stimulus funds are being allocated to a wide range of sectors including recovery for City non-profit and Pier tenants, addressing homelessness and and reopening City facilities and services.
“We will use these funds to support our arts and culture organizations and small businesses in their recovery and will continue to focus limited resources on our three community priorities through the biennial budget,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.
The funds are a welcome source of revenue for the city. A year ago, facing a $224 million budget deficit, Santa Monica City Council approved plans to lay off over 400 employees and implement sweeping service reductions. The city noted, however, that despite the $29.3 million in aid, “the City government recoups only a small fraction of its lost revenues.”
The largest chunk of the federal funds, $6.6 million, will go towards addressing homelessness. $6.35 million of this will support affordable housing while $250,000 will fund efforts to pursue non-congregate shelters and behavioral health efforts.
$5.86 million was directed toward “equitable and inclusive economic recovery”. This includes a rent abatement program for certain City tenants. Under the program, nine months rent abatement will be provided for nonprofit City tenants, six months for small business tenants on the Pier, Beach and other City property and three to six months abatement to Bergamot and airport gallery tenants. In addition, $237,700 will fund high season Pier Ambassadors and enhanced sweeping, trash, disinfection on the Pier and beach. $255,000 will go towards small business and events grants.
In an effort to aid the Santa Monica Pier, under Council direction $5 million will go towards the Support the Beach and Pier Funds due to severe revenue loss.
To facilitate the reopening of City facilities, $3 million in ongoing costs will be programmed as part of the FY 2021-23 proposed Biennial Budget. Examples of these services include reopening libraries, funding a language justice program, restoring staffing for code enforcement and parking revenue compliance. In addition, $750,000 in one-time funds was allocated for enhanced federal lobbying support, a limited term park planner, the fire academy and cybersecurity.
Additional direction will be provided when Council meets for its FY 2021-23 Biennial Budget Study Session on May 25.