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Sandy Springs City Council Awards Additional COVID Relief Funds

November 17, 2020

The Sandy Springs City Council has approved additional funding for several local non-profit agencies connected with federal COVID-19 relief funds provided through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.  The City received $630,769.00 as part of the CDBG COVID-19 Pandemic Response program administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During its November 17, 2020 meeting, the City Council approved allocating those funds to support programs implemented by the Community Assistance Center (CAC), Los Ninos Primero, and Sandy Springs Mission.

In June 2020, the City utilized a procurement process to identify the three local non-profit organizations for an earlier round of CDBG CV funding. The organizations used the initial award to deliver food to seniors and medically fragile individuals, implement educational enrichment programs, and provide financial assistance with rent and bill support.

The new CDBG CV funding will go towards continued educational programming, food, and rental assistance. The funding will also support new programs targeting Latino youth and provide the CAC with part-time aid to process the dramatic increase in requests for services.  Los Ninos Primero will receive $60,000; the Sandy Springs Mission will receive $35,000; and the CAC will receive $535,769.00. The grants are provided in accordance with HUD requirements, which includes regular progress reports and accounting. The organizations must use allocated funds specifically for the benefit of citizens of Sandy Springs.

The City Council also approved using a portion of the $4,566,429.00 the City received as part of CARES funding allocated by Fulton County to support additional COVID-19 Pandemic Relief programming.  The City had already funded the First Responder Payroll with general revenues. Since the CARES grant receipts are connected with expenses already budgeted and made, the funds would historically be returned to the fund balance.  Due to the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19, which have disrupted the local economy and put a strain on businesses, individuals, and families, the City Council voted to support the change of standard policy.

The City Council approved an allocation of $220,000 for a grant program for eligible non-profits providing COVID-19 related services to the Sandy Springs community.  The funds will be allocated through a competitive process based upon the number of people served, programs provided, and other requirements outlined within a Request for Proposals.  This program is separate from the federally funded CDBG-CV program.

To assist the City's small business community, a Small Business Relief Grant Program was approved with $1,200,000.00 in grant funding available to eligible Sandy Springs businesses with less than 99 employees.

An application process and review panel will be implemented to ensure that the funding is used for specific additional costs related to COVID-19 response and not offset regular operating revenues.

In support of the tourism industry, the City Council approved an allocation of $80,000 for Visit Sandy Springs to implement a marketing campaign designed to promote the City and its tourism partners to potential visitors as COVID-19 prepared destinations? within 300 miles from Sandy Springs. The operating budget for Visit Sandy Springs is funded through the Hotel-Motel Tax exclusively, which saw a significant decrease in collections due to coronavirus.

The City Council authorized these programs' funding through a budget amendment, leaving more than $3 million in the General Fund fund balance to cover continued COVID-related unforeseen expenditures.

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