Supervisors approve distributing small business stimulus money

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Distribution of $17 million from the federal coronavirus aid bill as part of a small business stimulus program was unanimously approved Tuesday by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The five supervisors will allocate the funding to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus in their districts.

The board tentatively approved distribution of the funds May 19, but asked county staff to report back in 45 days with recommendations on implementing the economic stimulus program.

Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Dianne Jacob co-authored the original proposal. Fletcher suggested applications should be in several languages, including Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Jacob expressed concern about the cost of translating applications or whether they would slow the application process.

“We want to make sure we’re serving everybody,” Jacob said. “I want to get the applications ready … We need to get this money out the door or lose it.”

The deadline for applications was not provided.

Printing applications in other languages would cost $11,000 and create a three-week lag time, according to Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer.

The county could start a web site immediately and seek guidance from chambers of commerce representing minority business owners, Robbins-Meyer said.

Fletcher said making county information available in other languages isn’t out of the ordinary, and that if an applicant doesn’t speak English, “they’re not going to ask for help.”

Supervisors heard from supporters of the program before the vote. Iris Garcia, president of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said it wants “to see county recover in an equitable framework,” by focusing money on minority-owned businesses.

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