More than $700 million will be pouring into the coffers of cities, school districts as well as counties in the Northern San Joaquin Valley now that President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
It includes $49,170,000 for the Manteca Unified School District, $15 million for the City of Manteca, $4.3 million for the City of Lathrop, $3 million for the City of Ripon, $4.4 million for the City of Oakdale, $150 million for the Stockton Unified School District, $148 million for San Joaquin County, $17 million for the City of Tracy, $47.4 million for the City of Modesto, $107 million for Stanislaus County, and $1.4 million for Escalon among other jurisdictions in the 209.
The funds being sent to cities, schools, and counties is on top of other provisions in the American Rescue plan that range from targeted relief for restaurants to $1,400 stimulus checks to child tax credits.
“My job is to deliver for Central Valley families and that’s exactly what we’ve done. This package gets money in bank accounts, vaccines in arms, kids safely in schools, and businesses back to work,” said Rep. Harder. “With direct stimulus checks, child tax credits, turbocharged vaccine production and distribution, important new investments in our counties and cities, and new funds to open our schools safely, this bill is the investment our community deserves.”
For Manteca, the $15 million will likely cover unbudgeted expenses the pandemic has created as well as cover revenue losses from sales and hotel room taxes triggered by COVID-19 lockdowns.
Based on the mid-year budget adjustment, the city projected it would end up losing $6.2 million from COVID-19 lockdowns slamming sales and hotel room taxes and other revenue sources by the time the current fiscal year ends on June 30. That includes $4.1 million in general fund revenue that helps pay for day-to-day police and fire services.
The city’s losses will likely continue into the next fiscal year even as the economy starts rebounding.
If losses are indeed $6.2 million by June 30 and the city backfilled reserves used to supplant lost revenue to fund municipal operations, Manteca would have $8.8 million left in COVID relief funds to address revenue losses that occur after July 1.
Mayor Ben Cantu said the city needs to use the funds first and foremost to backfill revenue losses and restore money drawn from reserves.
But beyond that he wants the council to discuss and decide what to do with what remains instead of simply building reserves even more beyond levels that were in place before the pandemic hit.
The mayor said it was detrimental to the city to keep building up reserves when there are pressing needs that keep becoming bigger problems and kore expensive to address.
Cantu said he favors considering putting money from the $15 million — of there is any left — toward street projects.
“We obviously wouldn’t have enough to do Airport Way but there are smaller street projects that could probably be done,” Cantu said.
How Manteca Unified will spend its $49.17 million is unclear.
The $24.1 million Manteca Unified has spent so far on equipment for COVID protocols and materials and such to teach under pandemic rules is being covered by state funds the district has already received for virus related expenses.
Given the district’s budget was in good shape before the pandemic hit and it already had devices in the hands of all students — something a lot of districts did not have — they did not incur as much in costs as many surrounding schools with the sudden switch to distance learning March.
MUSD Community Outreach Coordinator Victoria Brunn said the district was researching guidelines for how the funds can be used.
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