The Goleta City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve COVID-19 small business assistance programs in order to help Goleta-based businesses during the current pandemic.
The first assistance program is a combined effort by the city of Goleta and the Women’s Economic Ventures to fund the ReStart Loan Program and the Small Business Basic Loan Program. The city approved an appropriation of $200,000 to fund the creation of the small business loan programs.
The city also teamed up with the Santa Barbara Foundation to create the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund, which would approve a $50,000 appropriation from the general unassigned fund to help fund the new program.
“It is the first step in helping our businesses and our community recover from the effects of COVID-19,” Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Director Vyto Adomaitis said during Tuesday’s council meeting.
“COVID-19 still has a long way to go, but this more accurately reflects the needs of businesses we believe they have now and what they’re going to be needing in the future,” Jamie Valdez, principal project manager, added.
Both programs are meant to aid Goleta-based businesses that have been unable to secure any additional help from either federal or other state or local grants or loans.
“As we know, these are two organizations, the Santa Barbara Foundation and Women’s Economic Ventures, that are well respected in the community. They do good work and they’ve made a huge difference and impact for our residents,” Mayor Pro Tempore Kyle Richards said.
“I applaud the city and those organizations for coming up with these just collaborations. I think this is a good thing for our community.”
While there were some contentions, many of the councilmembers said that the need to get these assistance programs approved Tuesday was vital to help many businesses that need it right away.
One of the major concerns in the language had to do with the termination clause. Originally, the clause in both programs stated that the city would have the right, at any time, to terminate the agreement.
The language was revised to say that only the city council has the right to terminate the agreement for whatever reason may occur.
“We don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know what five years is going to look like. We may change the program dramatically within the same organization, but we should have the latitude to do it and we’re not going to have it unless we have a termination clause. I would hope we keep that with the understanding that it’s us that can change it and only us,” councilmember Roger Aceves said.
Other items at the meeting included the city celebrating having declared July 2020 as National Parks And Recreation month in Goleta.
“Now, more than ever, parks are a vital part of our lives and we cherish them,” Mayor Paula Perotte said.
The city also voted unanimously to adopt a resolution regarding the implementation of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) thresholds.
With the adoption, the city approved to implement the new metrics being pushed by the state of California in order to better meet sustainability goals.
“I support this move. I know we are required to by the state, but I actually happen to agree with the policy goals of making this change. I think if this were, in effect, 10 years ago our city would be looking different right now,” Pro Tem Richards said.
“I think measuring the Vehicle Miles Traveled is as good a way as any to assess the environmental impact. It’s a way of thinking about the effects on our health and on our environment, and I support this.”