Council June 16 to consider revised proposal for spending Edmonds’ CARES Act funds

Based on suggestions made at last week’s Edmonds City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Nelson is proposing changes to how the city will use its $1.2 million in federal CARES Act funds. The revised proposal will be on the city council agenda for potential action this Tuesday, June 16 and — for the first time since the council began meeting remotely via Zoom — citizens will have an opportunity to offer public comment in real time.

Two weeks ago, Nelson proposed that $800,000 of the city’s CARES Act allocation be used to help Edmonds small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic — with the remaining $465,100 used to reimburse the city for its coronavirus-related expenses.

But at the council’s July 9 committee meeting, several councilmembers said they would like to see some of the $1.2 million dedicated to human services, to help residents who have been impacted by the pandemic.

The revised proposal now calls for $700,000 to be awarded to eligible Edmonds small businesses with 2-30 employees, in the form of forgivable loans of up to $10,000, and $300,000 to be directed to a housing and supplemental relief program — available to qualified residents in the form of up to $1,000 grants. The amount of the fund allocated to city expenses has been reduced to $265,100, based on what is actually reimbursable under the program, the city agenda memo notes.

In addition, the mayor’s newest proposal calls for reallocating to the housing and relief fund up to $50,000 that was initially earmarked for a potential second round of funding for the Chamber Foundation WISH business grant program.

This $350,000 in new money would be added to the city council-created $100,000 housing and supplemental relief program, for a total of $450,000.

Those who wish to participate in the audience comments portion of the meeting may connect via Zoom at any point before the conclusion of the audience comments period. Those who want to speak will sit in a virtual waiting room until it is their turn to speak. When the person enters the live Council Meeting, their time will begin.

Speakers should begin by stating their name and city of residence. The clerk will be the timekeeper and provide a 30-second warning and a final warning when their time is up. The person will be removed from the meeting and the next speaker will enter the meeting.

Speakers may connect with a computer or smart phone at: zoom.us/s/4257752525 or they can join the meeting by phone at one of the following toll free numbers: 888-475 4499 or 877-853-5257. The Meeting ID is 425 775 2525.

People who don’t want to make comments during the meeting may continue to monitor the livestream on the City Council Meeting webpage, cable TV or telephone by calling 712- 775-7270, Access Code 583224.

Other on Tuesday night’s agenda include:

– Approval of a contract change order for the Dayton Street Utility Replacement Project
– Approval of a replacement project for the city’s wastewater treatment plant incinerator
– Presentation of the city’s newly created Community Services Resource Guide.

The June 16 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. You can see the complete agenda here.

12 Replies to “Council June 16 to consider revised proposal for spending Edmonds’ CARES Act funds”

  1. Is the city breaking its own law, and, or other government laws by not announcing and allowing for written (mailed, emailed, or otherwise delivered) comments to be read by an official or staff member during the City Council meetings? If Citizens are not available at the time of the meeting, or will not have access to vocal communication, is it legal to stop written communication from being read during council meetings?

    Written communications have been read during regular communication during open meetings. What has legally changed?

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  2. City Council acted during the March 17, 2020 City Council Meeting and voted unanimously to not take live Public Comments during Virtual Meetings and to only allow written Public Comments. At that time, there was discussion about reading Public Comments out loud, but nobody made a motion to do so. No rules were adopted regarding the length of written Public Comments or how many Public Comments could be submitted. Since then, many written Public Comments have been made but none of them have been read out loud. I do not recall any mention during City Council meetings of whether written Public Comments have been received for that week’s meeting.

    The City Council’s action on March 17, 2020 clearly concluded with the following:

    “That the above arrangements remain in effect until the City Council takes subsequent action.”

    City Council has not taken any subsequent action related to Public Comments. As such, I believe the only way the public can make Public Comments for the June 16, 2020 City Council Meeting is by submitting written comments. Hopefully, the City government will clarify this today so that all know what the situation is as we head toward tomorrow night’s meeting.

    One other thing to note is that Councilmember Luke Distelhorst stated the following about City Staff during March 17th Council Comments: “He echoed that not everyone has the ability to work from home or do virtual meetings.” I imagine the same can be said of our citizens – not everyone has the ability to do virtual meetings. I support a City Council vote to allow live Public Comments during Zoom Meetings if such does not become the only way citizens can make Public Comments. I favor Council making written Public Comments a permanent option and reading Public Comments out loud that can be read in 3 minutes or less – roughly 500 words or shorter. Council can consider adopting rules limiting how many public comments are read out loud if such is necessary.

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    1. Per Governor Inslee’s March 24th Proclamation related to the Open Public Meetings Act:
      “Any public agency, subject to RCW 42.30, is prohibited from conducting any meeting, subject to RCW 42.30 unless (a) the meeting is not conducted in-person and instead provides an option(s) for the public to attend the proceedings through, at minimum, telephonic access, and may also include other electronic, internet or other means of remote access, and (b) provides the ability for all persons attending the meeting to hear each other at the same time.”

      City of Edmonds government was supposed to provide the ability for all persons attending City Council meetings since March 24th to hear each other at the same time. Instead, the City told the public they could only submit written comments and then the City chose to not read those comments out loud or display the comments online during the meetings.

      By not reading public comments out loud or displaying the comments online during the public meeting, how could all persons attending the meeting possibly hear each other at the same time?

      On April 10th, I told the Edmonds City Council about how the City of Anacortes was handling this. Anacortes took additional steps to ensure that the public could both view and submit comments for consideration at public meetings. For example, Anacortes implemented an ecomment function which facilitated public comments and promoted the ability of all to see those comments during the virtual meeting.

      I do not really know how much our City Government investigated what Anacortes was doing or other options that would have provided the ability for all persons attending the meeting to hear each other at the same time. I do not recall any attempt to allow those attending our virtual meetings to see or hear the public comments that had been submitted.

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  3. There is no difference between granting money to a business which may have one owner/operator for a total of (1) person, or their selected number of (2).

    Ignored

  4. Dear Councilmembers;

    Tonight you will be deliberating a proposal for the distribution of the Federal CARES funding to business owners in Edmonds.
    Patrick Doherty has proposed that the funds NOT BE distributed to businesses which have less than 2 employees, are those fulltime or part time, and should they be counted the same? If passed as proposed, this limit on business participation for relief money due to the COVID pandemic, can be generalized as overtly unfair and discriminatory to every sole proprietor in Edmonds.

    Not every business owner in Edmonds has a business which employs multiple employees. By setting a threshold at 2 employees, it would disenfranchise hard working business owners, who would then be forced to shoulder the entire financial hardships of the Covid pandemic, all while the funds were a Grant to the City of Edmonds. Most of the business owners who would be exempted from Patrick’s proposed grant funding guidelines, are also the business owners who have been mandated to be closed and have sat idle now for months, with no “curb-side” cash flow. Without grant funding, many may find it too hard to manage the unforeseen future and may close. Which businesses are those? Is City Council ready to pick and choose who gets financial relief, in light of current social events in the United States, those actions could be labeled as partisan, and overtly discriminatory.

    There are no Valid reasons for not distributing Grant monies too all business owners across the board, equally. Business owners invested into Edmonds, it would only be just, to show them the Edmonds City Council respects their investment in the City.

    Not every business was closed due to Covid, the businesses in the bowl with the highest employee count, are restaurant’s. Of the businesses I frequented, some told me they cannot keep up with the orders for “curb side” food sales. Shall businesses which were mandated to be closed without exception, now be ignored? Both business owners may have invested all their life savings into opening a business in Edmonds. While those who were allowed to remain open and faced little comparative financial strife be given funding, while others are deemed unimportant to Edmonds by City Hall? Some business owners chose to remain closed, even though they were allowed to remain open under State guidelines, while accepting PUA funding, should they be rewarded as well, while others are exempt based solely on the number of employees? Is a business with one or two part time employees, more important than a full time sole proprietor?

    I propose the following: The Edmonds CARES Equity Act:
    1) Respect the investment of all business owners in Edmonds by giving every business owner the same opportunity to survive, without bias and discrimination.
    2) The only requirement, they stay in business for the same length of time as the harm imposed by the shutdown. Level the scale. Any amount of funding is more community based than no funding, to state otherwise would be discriminatory.
    3) There are NO disproportionate grant distributions to selected business owners. No business owner, is more important than another, Edmonds does not discriminate.
    4) Require the process is simple, a distribution- not an application, fast (within days- not weeks), and equally equitable and fair to all business owners.

    Thank you for your time, stay Healthy, and Safe.

    Sincerely,

    Brent Malgarin, G.G.
    Elegant Gems, Ltd.

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  5. Staff Lead: Patrick Doherty
    Department: Community Services
    Preparer: Patrick Doherty
    Background/History
    Many individuals and families in Edmonds have not shared equally in the region’s formerly robust
    economy of our community and region, often finding themselves in need of assistance of various kinds
    to help out with financial, mental, health, employment and other challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic
    and associated economic crisis have exacerbated these challenges even further, resulting in residents
    and businesses facing even more dire consequences.

    In Patrick Doherty’s own words above: “businesses facing even more dire consequences”.

    And Patrick Doherty proposes discrimination against business owners due to the size of the business. Discrimination is discrimination. Mayor Nelson, when are you going to take action against discrimination fomented under your control coming from within City Hall?

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    1. Ron, maybe you should read the rules below defined in Lori’s post, size is irrelevant.
      Study, study, study, it helps to know what you are talking about.

      Ignored

      1. I don’t see it stated in the rules that a one-person company needs to be granted as much money as a 20-person company.

        Ignored

  6. Don’t reinvent the Wheel: Here is a copy of Snohomish County’s 2nd Round of Business Grants Process: It is inclusive rather than exclusive, and it verifies business information.

    https://workforcesnohomish.org/snocogrant/#about

    Eligibility

    To be eligible for R3, a small business must meet the following criteria:

    Business has at least a 25% drop in revenue directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic
    Business has 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTE) including the business owner/worker; employee count shall be based on number of FTE as of 1/1/2020
    Business is licensed to do business in the State of Washington
    Business has been in operation for at least one year in Snohomish County (at time of application)
    Business is not facing any pending litigation or legal action
    Business is not suspended or debarred from the use of federal funds
    Business is physically located in Snohomish County
    Business is not a franchise – unless that franchise is not a subsidiary of a larger corporation and is able to document that it is not a subsidiary
    Business is not a chain (unless the majority of locations are located in Snohomish County)
    Business is not restricted to patrons over the age of 18
    Must be a for-profit business

    Use of Funds

    Awarded small businesses will only use grant funds for approved, allowable functions as broken down in the following three categories:
    1. Salaries and Benefits
    Salaries and Benefits may be used in order to retain staff facing imminent layoff, for owners or leadership who are unable to take a salary due to loss of revenue, or may be used to cover costs associated directly with unplanned COVID-19 related staffing costs such as: staff time training on personal protective equipment (PPE) use, staff time adding safety measures to physical locations, staff time implementing and/or training on virtual business service platforms, staff time updating processes and procedures to allow for safety and social distancing for customer and/or staff, and other such costs.
    2. Facilities
    Facilities include payments towards commercial mortgage, utilities, commercial lease, and other such necessary costs required to keep physical locations open and operable through the COVID-19 crisis.
    3. Cost of Goods and General and Administrative Expenses (SGA)
    This category includes, for example, new equipment deeded to assist the business to a temporary digital transition (webcams, software licensing for video conferencing, etc.) as well as other general costs deemed necessary for business operations

    The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of disallowable functions for grant funds:

    Paying off non-business debt, such as personal credit cards for purchases not associated with the business
    Purchase personal expenses such as buying a new family car or making repairs to a home
    Direct financing to political activities or paying off taxes and fines
    Purchase of personal items
    The purchase of drugs, tobacco, and/or alcohol
    Food and entertainment
    Bonuses
    Travel not associated with direct business operations

    Application Process

    Applications will be accepted between 6/12/2020 and 6/26/2020 at 5:00pm. No applications will be accepted after 6/26/2020 at 5:00 pm.

    Applications must be submitted electronically through the online

    To prepare for the application, Small Businesses should be ready to provide the following information:

    Legal name of business
    Unified Business Identifier (UBI)
    Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number – Businesses can establish a DUNS Number through this link: Get a DUNS Number
    Business address and date of establishment
    Owner/applicant contact information
    Industry sector
    Number of employees in Snohomish County as of 1/1/2020
    Number of employees in Snohomish County as of 5/1/2020
    A brief description of the business and its products/services
    A brief description of how the business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including an estimate on the revenue impact
    An estimate of how many jobs this grant will help the business hire and/or retain, a description for how the funds will help the business remain solvent, and a justification for the amount requested
    A breakdown of funds requested based on the three categories listed above: Salaries and Benefits; Facilities; and Cost of Goods and General and Administrative Expenses
    Council District of Snohomish County, based on business headquarters location: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/906/Council-District-Maps

    Application Review

    All applications will be initially reviewed for basic eligibility and given a priority score by Workforce Snohomish; this score will be based on priority answers submitted in the application and defined under section “Award Priority”.

    Applications that meet basic eligibility and have been assigned a priority score will be forwarded to the R3 Rating Team (R3RT).

    R3RT will recommend awards based on priority scores, application merit, and availability of funding. Snohomish County and Workforce Snohomish reserve the right to grant partial awards.

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