The Dublin City Council unanimously approved a staff recommendation to put additional funding into the city’s business microloan program.
During its Sept. 1 meeting, the council determined $811,000 — Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds from the federal government — will go into the community with a focus on helping with loans for individuals economically impacted by the pandemic and creating more microloans for small businesses. The city’s Small Business Emergency Microloan Program offers zero-interest, unsecured, short-term loans to assist with things such as rent and payroll.
Dublin will designate $450,000 of its allotment from CARES Act for the microloans. Another $150,000 will go to a program to help residents pay their rent in the short term. Councilmember Shawn Kumagai, however, expressed concern about creating consumer debt in the long term, since the funds will eventually need to be repaid.
An allocation of microloans earlier this year included many restaurants, but relatively few personal services and retailers. In this next round, councilmembers said they want to see more personal services made whole.
Mayor David Haubert stated that, more than anything, restaurant owners simply want the opportunity to work. He pointed out that, with colder weather coming, if restaurant owners plan to offer outdoor dining, they will face the added expense of installing proper tenting. Even getting to that stage will require Alameda County to meet health department yardsticks for eligibility, said City Manager Linda Smith.
Other money from the CARES Act includes $25,000 to help cover a local match for a FEMA grant for costs of the Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare test site; and $157,400 for paying staff to monitor parks for the presence of mask scofflaws, to clean sanitizing facilities and other related concerns.
Another $11,000 will be allocated to staff time for such things as Meals on Wheels and Senior Center lunches.
The remaining funds will go toward health order compliance.