URGENT ACTION NEEDED – PROTECT LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY, FUND COUNTIES AND CITIES NOW
Orange County’s Board of Supervisors, Mayors of 33 Cities Urge Congress, White House to Provide Immediate, Direct Funding
To the President of the United States, Members of the United States Senate, and the United States House of Representatives:
As the duly elected officials of the fifth-most populous County in the United States representing more than 3.3 million people, we urge Congress to provide dedicated and flexible funding for all local governments in the next federal Economic Stabilization and Relief Package. State and local governments are on the front lines of the pandemic providing critical health and human services and are in desperate need of federal assistance to address lost revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Failure to act will lead to a reduction of critical services that our constituents increasingly depend on. At a time when our constituents are suffering economic losses due to unemployment and other business closures, cuts to municipal services will impact their quality of life: fewer parks, more potholes, longer wait times for government permits, inspections, and other services. Without federal assistance, we will not be able to sustain these services or the critical health and public safety functions for which we are responsible.
We ask that the following provisions be included in the next relief package:
- Two separate and equally sized funds for direct payments to counties and cities as follows:
- A County fund to be awarded directly to counties based on population, with all counties receiving an award.
- A Municipality fund to be awarded to cities of all sizes using a fair distribution formula.
- Greater flexibility to allow state and local aid in the CARES Act and subsequent bills to cover more uses, including but not limited to the ability to make up for lost revenue.
- Reasonable guardrails to ensure accountability.
- A Federal Ombudsman to provide real-time guidance to counties and cities.
While our efforts have been successful in “flattening the curve” to reduce the number of positive cases and deaths in our County, we are facing unprecedented demands on public health and critical safety net services at the same time that our ability to fund them is rapidly deteriorating. We are exhausting reserves to protect our residents and we must make budget decisions in the next 45 days that will impact the services we provide.
Supervisor Michelle Steel, Chairwoman
Supervisor Andrew Do, Vice Chair
Third District Supervisor Don Wagner
Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee
Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett
♦ Aliso Viejo Mayor Mike Munzing ♦ Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu ♦ Brea Mayor Marty Simonoff ♦ Buena Park Mayor Fred Smith ♦ Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley ♦ Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson ♦ Dana Point Mayor Richard Viczorek ♦ Fountain Valley Mayor Cheryl Brothers ♦ Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald ♦ Garden Grove Mayor Steven R. Jones ♦ Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta ♦ Irvine Mayor Christina L. Shea ♦ La Habra Mayor Tom Beamish ♦ La Palma Mayor Peter L. Kim ♦ Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen ♦ Laguna Hills Mayor Janine Heft ♦ Laguna Niguel Mayor Laurie Davies ♦ Laguna Woods Mayor Noel Hatch ♦ Lake Forest Mayor Pro Tem Mike James ♦ Los Alamitos Mayor Richard D. Murphy ♦ Mission Viejo Mayor Brian Goodell ♦ Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill ♦ Orange Mayor Mark A. Murphy ♦ Placentia Mayor Ward Smith ♦ Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Bradley J. McGirr ♦ San Juan Capistrano Mayor Troy A. Bourne ♦ Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido ♦ Seal Beach Mayor Schelly Sustarsic ♦ Stanton Mayor David J. Shawver ♦ Tustin Mayor Dr. Allan Bernstein ♦ Villa Park Mayor Robert Pitts ♦ Westminster Mayor Tri Ta ♦ Yorba Linda Mayor Dr. Beth Haney ♦
In an article written by the Voice on OC on May 15, 2020, Irvine Mayor Christina Shea noted the stimulus money so far has come to the state and county, but not to OC’s cities. The CARES Act said funding can go only to local governments with at least 500,000 residents, a threshold met by the county government but not any of the cities in OC.
“It’s frustrating that all of this [CARES Act] money comes into the county, but the local cities are still having all these financial pressures to provide COVID needs for our community, but then we don’t have the funding for it,” Shea told Voice of OC in an interview Thursday.
“This trickle down tends to not trickle down to us,” she said.
“I think it’s very important that we are reaching out to every avenue, to the state, to the federal government, to try help backfill all of these costs that we have.”