Congressman Pete Aguilar announces $10.3 million funding for Colton in response to COVID-19

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Courtesy photo: Congressman Pete Aguilar announcing $10.3 million in COVID-19 relief to city of Colton as part of the American Rescue Plan.
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During Colton’s City Council meeting on March 16, Congressman Pete Aguilar announced the passing of the $350 billion American Rescue Plan and said that the city’s share will consist of $10.3 million; while the entire County of San Bernardino secured $422.8 million.

According to Aguilar, the city will receive half of its approved funding in 2021 and the second half will be granted 12 months later.

“The state will receive this funding within 60 days of the legislation being signed. Within 60 days the state will receive the funding of your share and they have 30 days from there to pass that through to the city. Half of the resources will be allocated initially, a little over $5 million is the share you will receive very soon and the other half of the balance will come 12 months from now,” said Aguilar.

It was said that the goal of the rescue plan is to ensure the country’s economic and health effects are guarded against economic losses as a result of the pandemic.

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“We understand that our localities and cities’ significant revenue source is sales tax and with declining economic activity…it lowers the sales tax in your area. The law looks at those expenses over a number of fiscal years and I want you to know that you will be able to attribute that revenue loss spread over the next few fiscal years. We want to make it as flexible as possible,” continued Aguilar.

One pivotal part of the American Rescue Plan is its Restaurant Revitalization Program, which will benefit small independent restaurants. 

“The Restaurant Revitalization Program is a new entity, similar to the Payment Protection Program (PPP)…for small independent restaurants. To figure out how much a restaurant is eligible for, it would be a simple calculation, take 2019 revenue, subtract 2020 revenue and then subtract any PPP funds received and they would be eligible for a grant up to a few million dollars, depending on the situation,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar also stated that the first three weeks of the program will be rolled out to women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses, along with any disadvantaged-type business.

“These businesses will receive first priority for funds because as we have seen through the PPP, large businesses were qualifying for assistance and going to the front of the line. We’re trying to right that inequity and ensure that businesses get assistance. We know that storefronts all throughout the Inland Empire have been hurt, so helping them recover is a key part of this program,” said Aguilar.

During the meeting Councilman Dr. G asked Aguilar, “With regard to the Restaurant Revitalization Program, how will they be able to get access to this grant?”

Aguilar replied, “It’s going to be an SBA program, so you’ll see a lot of data and information come out through SBA.gov and out of my office…they’re likely writing the requirements for qualifications as we speak. We will be in touch, but the information will come sooner rather than later,” concluded Aguilar.

“Thank you to Congressman Pete Aguilar for his vote on this bill making it possible for communities, not only Colton but communities throughout San Bernardino County to receive much-needed funding,” remarked Mayor Frank Navarro.

The entire council was just as supportive and thankful to Aguilar for his diligence in providing aid to Colton and neighboring cities.

“We really appreciate your efforts, Congressman Aguilar. It’s so important that cities were remembered in this bill. It’s going to be incredibly helpful to Colton and we look forward to reading the specifics on how we’ll be able to utilize the funds. We appreciate your long-term thinking regarding the allocation of funds being available this year and next year,” said Mayor Pro-tem Ernest Cisneros.

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