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How Sacramento's mayor proposes the city should use $89 million in federal stimulus

Mayor Darrell Steinberg released his proposal for how the stimulus dollars should be used in a letter to Sacramento’s City Council on May 7.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento received $89 million in stimulus funding from the federal government through the CARES Act, a stimulus package for some cities to help them through this crisis.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg released his proposal for how the stimulus dollars should be used in a letter to Sacramento’s City Council on May 7. Steinberg says he would like this to proposal to be the first of many conversations on the subject.

The federal dollars were made available to cities who have populations over 500,000. Sacramento received its check two weeks ago, Steinberg said.

“The loss in Sacramento, the economic loss is profound,” Steinberg said. “We’re not unique. It’s the same everywhere else in the state and the country and the world and it is profound. You cannot shutdown society for two months and not expect that there is going to be dramatic economic impacts.”

The mayor is calling for the funding to be used for areas most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic including $20 million for Small Business Recovery Assistance, $20 million for a Youth and Workforce Development Program, $20 million for the City’s Housing and Rapid-Rehousing plan, and $20 million to Arts and Tourism. 

He would like the additional $9 million to be used for other costs the city has endured as a result of the pandemic.

“I want to make sure that we find the right balance between providing immediate assistance to people who need it and, of course, the challenge there is that the need far outweighs the amount of money, even $89 million,” Steinberg said.


$20 million for Small Business Recovery and Assistance:

The City of Sacramento already approved $1 million in small business loans earlier in the pandemic.

  • Steinberg is calling for a small business grant program for underserved neighborhoods and commercial areas.
  • A grant program targeted at industries and small businesses most impacted by the crisis.
  • Strategic use of external funding programs
  • Funding for personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.
  • Support for local organizations that assist small businesses like the Chamber of Commerce.

$20 million for Youth and Workforce Training Programs:

  • Establish a Sacramento Health Corps to train hundreds of unemployed people to perform contact tracing
  • Expand technical education for high school students
  • Adult retraining and upskilling programs to help with things like regional construction projects
  • Ensure digital access for underserved communities
  • Child-care services program to help parents get back to work
  • Funding for after school programs

$20 million for the City’s Homeless and Rapid Re-Housing Plan

  • Expand program that helps with rental assistance and wrap-around services
  • Develop permanent affordable housing options like tiny homes or efficiency units
  • Purchase hotels or motels that can be used for transitional housing.

$20 million for Arts, creative economy, and Tourism

  • Create a grant program for arts and cultural institutions like the Community Center Theatre.
  • Create a grant program to help arts and culture related non-profits out of the crisis
  • Support for Visit Sacramento, the city’s tourism bureau.
  • Support for art education

The mayor says there’s also no real way of telling just yet how long it will take for Sacramento’s economy to recover after the 8 week shutdown, which continues without a reopening date.

The good news is that the mayor says that the city will end the year with a balanced budget thanks to the funding and from Measure U sales tax, an economic development tax levy passed in 2018.

He hopes this proposal will be the starting point of this conversation. There is no official timeline for when the funding will be approved since conversations are just beginning, but the federal stimulus dollars must be used by the end of the year.


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