Since the last Pacifica City Council meeting addressing the budget, the city received guidelines from the U.S. Treasury governing how to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The money will be needed: Budget projections anticipate an $11.9 million shortfall due to COVID-19 ramifications this year and in the future, said City Manager Kevin Woodhouse at the May 24 City Council meeting.

Since the last Pacifica City Council meeting addressing the budget, the city received guidelines from the U.S. Treasury governing how to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The money will be needed: Budget projections anticipate an $11.9 million shortfall due to COVID-19 ramifications this year and in the future, said City Manager Kevin Woodhouse at the May 24 City Council meeting.

Pacifica will receive a total of $7.2 million in two rescue plan installments about 12 months apart, said Assistant City Manager Tina Wehrmeister. First the money will go to the state for distribution.

“Part of it, $1.9 million, can be used to backfill core services. Then we still have $1.6 million,” she said, speaking of the first distribution.

The funds will be used to boost economic assistance and tourism ($250,000), assist homelessness and RV housing issues ($170,000) and establish COVID-19 cleaning services ($120,000). Improved ventilation in the community center and civic center building will be funded for a total of $680,000. Stormwater will be treated and San Pedro Creek and Pacifica State Beach pollution will be addressed with $250,000.

Three new positions will be added to the city’s employment roster at a cost of $500,000, paid for with federal money. Those are a limited term plan to expedite housing and workforce housing, a two-year public works project manager to assist with economic recovery by expediting projects and someone to help the city clerk and human resources department address worker safety.

The federal funds do not have to be used in one year, but the deadline to use it or obligate it is December 2024, Wehrmeister said. The money can be used for pressing needs and shortfalls, she said. Other funding sources may come from the state and the county.

“Use when there is no other source available,” Wehrmeister said.

Woodhouse said 22 Pacifica restaurants applied for assistance under the San Mateo County program. A program could be developed later to help other types of businesses.

New programs on the budget include, in Vallemar, $25,000 to add to $118,000 from Cal Fire to remove dead trees and brush. Development income fees will be studied at a cost of $75,000. 

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