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GOVERNMENT

The city of Napa's unspent CARES Act funds to be reallocated

Napa City Hall sign

Outside Napa City Hall.

The city of Napa’s unspent federal CARES Act funding will soon be reallocated.

A significant chunk of what may be reallocated are funds in the city’s microenterprise business grant program, which still retains at least $200,000 of an originally allocated $335,000.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus sent out by the federal government in 2020 to agencies across the country to handle the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the city’s CARES Act funding — totaling about $1.1 million — was deployed to support public services. That includes fair housing services, rental assistance, food and meal programs, safe shelter and childcare subsidies. About $711,000 was allocated to those services, and $282,000 of that had been expended earlier this year, according to a September report. 

Back in September, the city reported that $25,000 of the $335,000 in the microenterprise grant program had been sent out to five local businesses. At the time, all businesses requesting aid had requested the full $5,000 amount of aid.

Funds in the city’s business grant program are still actively going out to local businesses. Assistant housing manager Stephanie Gaul said that, currently, the city is working to finalize assistance to 18 more businesses beyond the original five.

Not all have requested the full amount of assistance, however, so the total amount given out in aid to local businesses will fall below $115,000, which is $200,000 less than the amount allocated to the program.

Gaul said in an email the city’s expectation was that all Community Development Block Grant CARES act funding would be fully spent by Dec. 31. At the time, Dec. 31 was the deadline for expending for spending CARES act funds.

The CARES Act funds will not be lost, according to Gaul. That’s because there’s been an extension from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development on the city’s expenditure deadline, Gaul said. 

Gaul added she’s planning to reallocate all unspent funds and open an application process for the reallocated funds in December. Those funds will be awarded — requiring action from the Napa City Council and the CDBG Citizen’s Advisory Committee — in early 2022, she said. 

“We’re hopeful that the funding will continue to be spent expeditiously by our partners who are providing assistance directly to impacted community members,” Gaul said.

To apply for the microenterprise grant program previously, businesses must have had 5 or less employees including the business owner; they must have been an active for-profit business located in the city of Napa; the owner must have been considered low to moderate income; the business must have had $2.5 million or less in gross annual receipts; and the business needed to prove losses because of COVID-19 of at least 25%.

The program was intended to benefit low- or moderate-income business owners; the city’s website notes that applicants would be asked questions about household incomes to fulfil CDBG eligibility requirements and reporting responsibilities.

Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday recommended expanding eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all adults in the United States, which would pave the way for millions more Americans to get additional protection against the virus. Tamara Lindstrom reports.

You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.

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