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COVID Loans Forgiven, More Money Approved for IVROP’s WORK

It’s official. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution forgiving $750,000 in COVID-19-related business loans. 

The resolution was approved during the county board’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The loans were associated with both phases of the Imperial County Business Stabilization Lending Program, from which the county administered 77 loans totaling $750,000.

Forty-six borrowers were eligible for loan forgiveness while 31 were not eligible. Those considered ineligible for loan forgiveness are either nonprofits that rely on volunteers or sole proprietors with no employees, and loan forgiveness was tied job retention.

However, the board approved forgiving all of the loans due to the continued impact of COVID-19.

All the funds utilized for the program were derived from solar projects through the Public Benefit Program, according to a letter to the board from County Executive Officer Tony Rouhotas.  

Direction was given to do this at last week’s meeting. The resolution was the board’s official action on the matter.

IVROP Gets Additional $150,000

The Board of Supervisors also approved increasing the total contract between the county and the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program for its Project WORK program.

The original contract was for $1 million funded by the California Department of Social Services Expanded Subsidized Employment allocation, said Veronica Rodriguez, social services director. The additional $150,000 became available from that fund.

Project WORK delivers a combination of subsidized work placement, transitional employment-retention services, and non-salaried work experience aimed at increasing employment skills and work-related experience of CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work clients, Rodriguez said.

IVROP provides subsidized employment and unpaid work experience placement to CalWORKs customers seeking training, work experience, and employment opportunities. 

The fund will go toward technology and sanitization of equipment, Rodriguez said. There is no impact to the county budget as the money is coming from the state.

Behavioral Health Contracts Increase

Another item that won’t impact the county’s fiscal accounts is approving more than $2 million to contracts the county has signed.

Imperial County Behavioral Health Department requested the budget amendment, as it was uncertain how the revenue streams would be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic when the fiscal 2020-2021 budget passed in June, said Behavioral Health interim director Leticia Plancarte-Garcia. Some of the funds are based on sales tax. 

It was also uncertain how services by contract providers would be affected by the pandemic, she added. As a result, when the budget was passed, some contracts were only budgeted a percentage of the established contracted amounts.

Behavioral Health now sees that contracts with Alvarado Parkway Institute, the Center for Family Solutions, Orbit Health, Parkside Healthcare, Spread the Love Charity and Rady’s Children Hospital will exceed the original forecasted amount based on current spending trends, she said. 

Though the totals increased by more than $2 million, it is not expected to have an impact to the county’s budget as the total cost will be covered by Medi-Cal, state realignment funds and mental health dollars from California’s Proposition 63.

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