More than 50 people gathered in the health and human services building in Woodland to be able to explain how they want US bailout funds to be spent by Yolo County.
The meeting, which took place Monday evening, was one of five meetings the county held to seek public input on how to spend the money. Workshops were held in Davis and West Sacramento last week. There will be a town hall at the RISE community center on Wednesday and a virtual workshop for rural residents on Thursday.
The county is receiving $ 42.8 million from the federal spending bill, which includes $ 350 billion for state and local recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more money goes directly to cities and school districts, with the City of Woodland receiving $ 11.1 million and the Woodland Joint Unified School District receiving $ 33.6 million.
“We’re here for a really big experience, which is that the money has come in and the council, to their credit, wants to spend it wisely and well,” said Yolo County Supervisor Gary Sandy, to the participants.
The supervisory board had previously established guidelines on how it should spend the money. Projects must require one-time funds, be pandemic-related, maximize opportunities, avoid duplication with city or district projects, it must be a transformative project and it must be connected to the plan county general.
In order to connect to the bigger picture, all projects must fit into the categories: prosperous residents, safe communities, sustainable environment, thriving agriculture or other.
The US Treasury has also provided guidance on how best to spend the money, indicating that it can be spent responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with economic impacts, paying essential employees, providing government services. affected by loss of income, or make investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. These guidelines are still being updated.
The county has received about 164 proposals on how to spend the funds, which total more than $ 300 million in funding.
“Everyone has been affected in one way or another by COVID, but some groups have been affected more,” supervisor Angel Barajas told attendees. “I want to hear from you because what matters to me is that I evaluate each proposal. “
In small groups, participants were asked to determine how they would like the money to be spent and to come up with three main ideas. A group member then presented his ideas to the other participants.
“We are really concerned about our young people and how they have been affected, we are concerned about food security and we are concerned about the homeless,” one person said.
The needs of young people were often brought up, including childcare which was also a huge topic of conversation as childcare is not affordable and many educators have been injured by parents working from home. Participants also emphasized the importance of mental and behavioral health care and youth socialization.
“We have completely underestimated the impact mental health is going to have on all of us,” said another – noting that adults, as well as children, have been affected by the pandemic.
In addition to the above questions, the groups focused on sustainability and water, agriculture, small business support, workforce development, criminal justice and broadband.
County staff members noted that the proposals will be considered along with state budget plans and city and school district plans. For example, Governor Gavin Newsom traveled to Tulare County to sign a bill that will invest $ 6 billion in overtime to increase broadband coverage on Wednesday in a bid to bridge the digital divide in communities rural.
The supervisory board will be informed of the results of these workshops at its meeting on July 27 and will discuss the preliminary spending plan on August 31. Funding for the US bailout will likely be included in the 2021-2022 budget on September 28. Meet.
For more information on the US bailout for Yolo County, visit yolocounty.org/government/general-government-departments/county-administrator/american-rescue-plan.