The City of Escondido will get $45 million from the COVID relief bill just passed by Congress and signed by President Biden.
According to City Manager Jeff Epp, “”My preliminary understanding is that it is made available in two equal parts, one this year and one next. We will definitely involve the Council, as I expect they may want to roll out some additional grant programs (for businesses, etc.) as well as consider perhaps additional rent and utility relief, addressing our own budget shortfall, etc. The law also allows it to be spent for infrastructure projects (water, sewer, public works).”
The Times-Advocate reached out to all five city council members to glean what they think the money might be used for.
Mayor Paul McNamara said, “Well I have lots of personal ideas if I was given 45 million. But for the community, the staff is looking at it right now. As you can imagine, there are no shortage of ideas, and this will impact the sales tax discussion. I expect to have more to report in the next few weeks.”
Councilmember Tina Inscoe said, “At this time we do not have much information on funding guidelines. I am sure that staff will be compiling lots of information to bring to council. It will no doubt be a process but much appreciated for our fair city.”
Deputy Mayor Mike Morasco commented, “We still need to verify any limitations and / or restrictions tied to the monies. I can tell you that city management believes we may be able to resolve many of our current fiscal concerns including pension debt obligations. They have also stated that this game changer makes me look prophetic in having the ‘foresight’ to vote against the ill-conceived / prepared review measure last summer.
Councilmember Consuelo Martinez told The Times Advocate: “Although I am waiting to learn more about the parameters and specifics details, I will be asking the public for their input. In the meantime, I will be reaching out to my constituents on social media to solicit their input about need and gaps. Also, anyone is welcome to reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.orgI look forward to our residents having a say in what our community needs and priorities are.”