Sacramento County Approves $45M for Public Health via CARES Act Funds

By Metro Chamber|August 21, 2020|Advocacy, Metro Chamber, News Coverage|

In a special meeting on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, $45M was approved to go towards the following in public health via CARES Act funds. This would not have happened without the coalition of outreach from our business community and community partners that expressed outrage on how and where funds were spent based on the Staff report at the 8/11 County Supervisor Meeting. The Metro Chamber had been asking staff and supervisors for months on how these funds were to be spent, and advocating for the incredible need to invest in both the health of our community and economy. And although these funds were approved today, it does not address the bigger issue of process, lack of transparency and priorities being set by the County with these CARE funds, and the County budget as a whole.

Brief recap on the $45M approved today and how it will be spent before December 30, 2020:

  • $3.5M for testing and timely test results.
  • $19.2M to expand the surge capacity for lab, health official workforce and similar to support testing and tracing.
  • $15.3M for public outreach and education tied to isolation, masks, and quarantine; includes temp housing for high at risk individuals (e.g. migrant workers that are exposed); this also includes $1M+ for Sac Food Bank.
  • $3M Support and enforce mitigation efforts for businesses, including guidance and protocols.
  • $4M For Community vaccine clinics and prep for COVID19 vaccine.

View Agenda Items, Staff Reports and public comments HERE.

In addition, the following was addressed:

  • County Health officials addressed the need for $90M overall, but only $45M was requested due to the restrictions of CARES Act funds to be spent by December 30, 2020.
  • Multiple Supervisors expressed the continued frustration on the lack of reporting from staff on how funds were spent, the process, and breakdown that has impacted public health.
  • This work is already underway, with contracts being implemented by health officials and sourcing being finalized.
  • In regards to housing and homeless, County Staff deferred it to other entities including SHRA, rather than CARES funds.
  • Nearly everyone addressed the need for more public awareness and outreach by the County.
  • Sup. Serna will have weekly meetings with County health officials to ensure their requests and needs are being met.
  • Sup. Kennedy requested again the need for a report on funds spent related to COVID19, and emphasized the lack of planning and opportunity for the public to share input without looking at a big picture.
  • Sup. Nottoli emphasized the need for urgency, and ensuring resources are also available in the future, including concerns on food scarcity, housing and mental health. He also asked directly about the mobile clinics that ended and why funding did not continue for them on behalf of our health care systems.
  • Sup. Peters requested more awareness and explanation on what is needed to be removed from the state watch list.
  • Sup. Frost addressed questions on what is needed to open schools.

We applaud the approval of these funds today, however, Sacramento County is the only County in our region that has NOT allocated funds to support our businesses, despite the fact that every other county in our region has chosen to do some type of support via grants, loans and/or technical assistance. There is something very wrong with that picture when we have cities within the county that did not receive CARES Act dollars, such as Elk Grove, that are implementing their own loan programs to help small businesses. If the County does not act with immediacy to support our small businesses, our small business community will suffer an excruciating blow. Based on a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, nearly half of our small businesses are in danger of failing; Yelp has already identified 1,500 in our region alone that are permanently closed.  These small businesses employ nearly half our workforce and many did not have access to PPP loans and other forms of capital.

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