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Fountain Valley approves help for small businesses and first responders

Photo of municipal building blue sky and clouds in background and two flag poles in foreground flying U.S. and California flags and a Tree City USA flag.
Fountain Valley City Hall, where council members on Tuesday approved help for small businesses and first responders.
(File Photo)

The Fountain Valley City Council on Tuesday unanimously confirmed a grant program to help small businesses with low- and moderate-income workers and an ordinance that allows first responders to use recreational vehicles as alternative housing to keep their families safe from COVID-19.

The council voted to allocate grant money to small businesses because many were forced to close or reduce services after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order last month.

The council’s vote was confirmation of a grant that Fountain Valley City Manager Rob Houston approved on April 13. The City Council granted Houston “emergency powers” on March 17 to rapidly respond to emergencies during the pandemic. However, the council still needs to confirm his actions “at the earliest practicable time.”

The Small Business Employee Retention Grant will pay up to $10,000 a month, or up to 75% of payroll costs, for up to two months to businesses with 10 employees or less. However, businesses must pledge to keep low- and moderate-income workers on staff for at least two months. Businesses must also be operating during the crisis and show 25% revenue loss.

Orange County workers are considered low- and moderate-income if they make less than $66,500 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are about 25 applicants tentatively approved for the grant. The average amount that will be granted to each business is about $11,400.

The council voted to temporarily lift prohibitions against living in recreational vehicles and the length of time that RVs can be parked on city streets. The decision was made to support first responders who may use RVs as alternative housing in order to not expose their families to COVID-19 or contaminate their homes.

The council’s vote was confirmation of an ordinance that Houston approved on April 9.

A local organization, RVs for COVID, is donating vehicles to first responders to use during the crisis.

Emergency RV permits still have to be obtained through approval by the police department. The ordinance will expire when the city’s local emergency declaration or Newsom’s order ends.

Both items were approved with little council discussion.

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