The Livermore City Council is expected to approve a $2 million matching grant program for small businesses affected by mandatory shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic at its regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 24.
The grants, from $2,000 to $20,000 per business, would cover up to 25% of the costs incurred in obtaining the services or equipment needed to remain competitive during the pandemic. The Citywide Small Business Assistance Grant Program would be retroactive to March 16, when shelter-in-place orders were issued.
To be eligible, businesses would need to be licensed by the city, with at least 50% of their business conducted from a physical location within Livermore or provided to a customer within the city. Applications would be funded on a first-come, first-served basis, with the grants coming from the city’s general fund.
In a report recommending approval of the program, city staff noted that small businesses in Livermore “account for more than 75% of all local employment, are primary drivers of community experience and identity, are the lifeblood of downtown Livermore, and are significant contributors to the city’s tax base.”
The council is also expected to approve a specific ban on the sale of cannabis-infused or CBD e-cigarette fluids and electronic devices designed for smoking cannabis or hemp products.
Although Livermore’s current tobacco ordinance prohibits the sale of nicotine-based e-cigarette products to minors, city staff found that CBD-infused e-cigarette fluids were “being sold in a wide variety of non-traditional candy flavors and colors that are attractive to youth.” To address the issue, staff recommended a ban on all sales of CBD electronic-smoking products in the city.
The council is also expected to authorize the city to apply for two housing-related grants from the state.
In a joint application with Eden Housing, the city is seeking a nearly $4 million grant from the state Transit-Oriented Development Housing Program to develop the downtown Veterans Park.
Eden Housing is developing a 130-unit multifamily project at L Street and Railroad Avenue, near the Downtown Transit Center. The $3,935,000 infrastructure grant would be used to develop the adjacent public park.
The second application would seek $1 million from the California Homekey Program for the Villages at Crosswinds, a “tiny home” project spearhead by Alameda County and the Crosswinds Church.
The 31 “tiny homes” on church property – 22 permanent units and nine for short-term occupancy – would provide housing for currently homeless residents. The state’s Homekey Program is funded by $600 million in federal coronavirus relief.
Also on the council agenda is approval of a new employee classification – cyber security manager – at an annual salary of $124,000 to $154,000. The new, full-time position was added to the city’s budget during the June 8 council meeting.
As it has since the start of the pandemic, the city council will meet virtually, starting at 7 p.m.
Residents can submit comments or questions about agenda items in advance by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by Google form, available at https://forms.gle/eVTLkUhkaApoZ1Ym8. There is a 500-word limit and comments must be sent by noon the day of the meeting.
The agenda is available on the city’s website, http://cityoflivermore.net/agenda.
Residents may also comment on social media during the meeting. Comments posted to YouTube or Zoom Q&A should be marked “Public Comment” with the agenda item number. The city clerk will read social media comments into the record during the time set aside for public comments.
To submit comments during the meeting, log onto the Zoom teleconference service at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85002038559. Use telephone number (699) 900-6833; meeting ID: 850 0203 8559. Or go to www.youtube.com/channel/UC-LUOVHsFv3zZo1I1n0J5lA