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What does the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill mean for San Luis Obispo County?

Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 20:11:46-04

San Luis Obispo County and its seven cities will soon see a chunk of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan recently passed by Congress.

"Critically important piece of legislation," said Bruce Gibson, San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor.

While some residents have directly seen this money in the form of a stimulus check, San Luis Obispo County will receive $54.9 million with local cities receiving an additional $30.1 million.

Here's the estimated breakdown:

  • Arroyo Grande: $3.4M
  • Atascadero: $5.7M
  • Grover Beach: $2.5M
  • Morro Bay: $2.0M
  • Paso Robles: $6.1M
  • Pismo Beach: $1.5M
  • San Luis Obispo: $8.9M

"There's some formulas in there that have to do with the number of unemployed individuals at any given time so that's a part of the calculation," said Guy Savage, Assistant County Administrative Officer.

Supervisors Bruce Gibson and John Peschong are working as a sub-committee on a plan.

"Right now, we're meeting with staff to first and foremost understand the constraints that we're under, exactly what are the rules," Supervisor Gibson explained.

He said, broadly speaking, the funds could be allocated to:

  • Households, small businesses, non-profits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality
  • Provide government services hit with revenue losses
  • Premium pay for certain essential workers
  • Direct investments in water, sewer, and broadband internet infrastructure

"This is a really complex piece of legislation," Gibson said.

Half of the funds are expected to be deposited by mid-May while the other half will arrive a year later.

"We're in an information-gathering stage right now and we hope toward the end of April, we'll be able to bring a report back to the board as to what possibly could be done with this money," Gibson added.

All five supervisors will act on the overall application of the funds.

"Making sure that all of the benefits of the American Rescue Plan are going to be available to residents of this county," Gibson said.

This is the single largest chunk of money the county will receive since the pandemic started, surpassing the roughly $28 million in CARES Act funds.

The deadline to spend the funds is December 31, 2024.

Additional funds are also going to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program also known as food stamps, rental assistance, restaurants/bars, and schools.

Santa Barbara County says it's expected to receive about $86.6 million from the American Recovery Plan Act. It'll be discussed during the board of supervisors' budget workshops in mid-April.