The Angels Camp City Council engaged in a long discussion regarding the use of funds at the Sept. 20 meetings.
During the pandemic, the City of Angels Camp applied for and received $946,360 in federal funding from the COVID-19 State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Grant according to the agenda item printout.
The intended use for these funds was to pay essential workers, provide Covid vaccine incentives, and provide funding for water/wastewater projects. Reorganization of the handling of the city’s funds has been a big topic in the previous few meetings.
During budget planning, it was suggested that the city use accumulated funds totaling $250,000 for water and wastewater on approved projects so that they would not have to fully rely on Covid relief funds. The city has previously taken out a loan to fund a project that it has since paid off, and the $250,000 is left over from that.
“The final rule has determined that while the intent of the SLFRF funds was to provide for essential pay, water and wastewater infrastructure funding, and broadband investment, the additional ruling also identified that cities and counties could also utilize the funding for recovery efforts due to COVID impacts to their respective economies,” reads the item printout.
City Administrator Rebecca Callen proposed the Shop Local program, which will “have a buy-one-get-one option for shoppers benefitting local City of Angels businesses. A limit of three cards can be purchased, and a maximum purchase of $100 per card (with a matching credit from the program). It will take about four weeks to implement and be in place for the 2022 Holiday season.”
Mayor Alvin Broglio expressed his concerns along with the rest of the council about the use of the funds. Broglio expressed his support for the program, stating, “[The Shop Local program is] going to be a great thing for our community, our businesses, and our economy.”
His main concern was which funds to use for the program. Broglio leaned toward leaving the $250,000 water/wastewater account alone and revisiting it at a later date. It was ultimately decided that the $250,000 would be pulled from the remaining COVID-19 relief funds with $62,500 going towards the Shop Local program and the remaining $187,500 going towards other economic programs.
The council shared some concerns about possible outcomes relating to Measure A and its impact on Angels Camp’s economy.
Measure A would increase the sales tax in the City of Angels Camp from 7.75% to 8.25%. In Tuolumne County, there is a similar tax measure on the ballot. Callen brought up the possibility that if Tuolumne does not pass its tax measure but Calaveras does, it could drive potential shoppers over into the neighboring county.
“You’re not going to feel the impact when buying toothpaste, but you will when buying a refrigerator,” said Callen.
“The impact on expenditures to the County would be for personnel and material costs for recording, tracking, and distributing the additional revenues for the fire districts this Measure would create. It is estimated that this would cost approximately $4,200 annually,” wrote county auditor-controller Kathy Gomes in a letter to the City.
Other comments from the council were that it gives them less wiggle room when it comes to imposing special taxes to fund projects around the city.
Angels Camp fire chief John Rohrabaugh expressed his support for the measure, stating that it would “save lives” due to the extra funding and ability to purchase more equipment and hire more staff. He also said that each department would have to go through audits to ensure that the funds are being properly spent.
The next Angels Camp City Council meeting will be held at 6 pm on October 4 at 1404 Vallecito Road, Angels Camp, CA 95222, or online viewing via Google Meet.