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City leaders make plans for dealing with COVID-19 outbreak 

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Paso Robles City Council adopts urgency ordinance for COVID-19

–On Friday the Paso Robles City Council has adopted an Urgency Ordinance affirming the orders of the Emergency Services Director and Public Health Officer of the County of San Luis Obispo related to the COVID-19 State and Local Emergency. This allows the City to enforce two recent County orders.

The first provides a temporary moratorium on certain residential and commercial evictions due to COVID-19. Tenants must provide required notice to landlords and are responsible for paying all rent within six months of the local emergency.

Violations of the Shelter in Home Order may be enforced as well. Business violations in Paso Robles can be reported at 805-237-6464 or through the County Enforcement Line at 805-788-2222. The Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division will be following up on business violations and is asking for cooperation following these orders. If a business chooses to stay open despite a determination that the business is not essential, administrative fines and sanctions may apply.

Police Chief Ty Lewis encourages the collaboration and voluntary compliance of our business community, stating, “Certainly, these times are tough on business and the self-employed; I am imploring everyone to follow these orders. If a business chooses to stay open despite a determination that the business is not essential, there could be administrative fines and sanctions. I certainly don’t want to go down that road and hope everyone understands the position they’ll put themselves and my officers in if they don’t comply.”

To view the orders, visit: https://www.emergencyslo.org/en/emergency-proclamations-declarations-and-orders.aspx?_mid_=454

Highlights from the Paso Robles City Council special meeting on Friday morning, March 27, 2020, are as follows. The City Council took the following actions:

Designated the City’s Agents in Applying for Reimbursement from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Council designated the City Manager, the Assistant City Manager, and/or the Director of Administrative Services to apply for and obtain disaster relief and emergency financial assistance on behalf of the City, for costs incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Received a COVID-19 Pandemic Update. Fire Chief Stornetta provided an update on the current number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the County (54 total at this time) and City (15 at this time), a projected “surge” or peak in confirmed caseloads in California (projected to be in late April at this time), and a summary of the City’s response efforts and continued provision of essential services.

Received a Report on the Potential Fiscal Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the City. The report indicated significant projected fiscal impacts on the City’s General Fund revenues, primarily in the form of reduced sales tax and transit and occupancy tax revenues. Revenue reductions could total $4-6 million in the current fiscal year, ending June 30. While the City has healthy General Fund Reserves, the City needs to take steps now to curtail expenditures, delay some capital improvement projects, and plan for longer-term adjustments as needed. Due to the uncertain nature of the duration of the pandemic and related economic impacts, the City will modify its normal two-year budget process and instead propose a one-year budget for fiscal year 2020-21 for Council adoption in June. As more information becomes available, staff will continue to update Council and the public.

Affirmed the San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Director and Public Health Officer Orders related to the COVID-19 Emergency. This allows the City to enforce two recent County orders. The first provides a temporary moratorium on certain residential and commercial evictions due to COVID-19. Tenants must provide required notice to landlords and are responsible for paying all rent within six months of the of the local emergency. [Note: after the Council meeting, the Governor issued an executive order on this same matter, reaffirming the prohibition of commercial or residential evictions for non-payment of rent due to the pandemic.] Violations of the Shelter in Home Order may be enforced as well. A list of businesses considered Essential can be found at www.ReadySLO.org. Violations in Paso Robles can be reported at 805-237-6464. The Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division will be following up on violations and is asking for cooperation following these orders. If a business chooses to stay open despite a determination that the business is not essential, administrative fines and sanctions may apply.

Temporarily Waived Penalties and Interest on Transient Occupancy Tax Collections. Council adopted an urgency ordinance to waive penalties and interest for late Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues received for February and March 2020 transient lodging services until August 31, 2020 at the latest. The waiver is for interest and penalties only, not the TOT payments themselves. If all lodging establishments were to take advantage of the grace period, the estimated maximum interest foregone (as a result of the reduction in the City’s cash balances) would be approximately $30,000. Any payments not received by August 31, 2020 or any lodging operators who do not submit their TOT tax forms by the original due date will accrue interest from that date and be charged the standard penalties.

Discussed a Potential Line of Credit for Daniels Woodland to Produce Personal Projective Equipment for the COVID-19 Response. Daniels Woodland, a local Paso Robles business, requested a line of credit from the city to assist them in adjusting their manufacturing system to be able to produce personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders responding to COVID-19. Council directed staff to pursue financing options for Daniels Woodland through Community West Bank or other financial institutions. CommunityWest Bank administers the Community Sustainability Program, which invests a portion of idle City funds back into the community. If that approach is not successful, the City Manager can return to the Council for consideration of other options.




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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.