Big Challenges Generally Require Big Responses

…and in the case of childcare capacity as it’s been mauled by Covid-19 it definitely does.

Many, if not almost all, childcare facilities are teetering on the edge because they have had to reduce the number of children they can support to maintain appropriate social distancing. So their revenues are down but costs, except perhaps for facility rental fees, have not gone down. Even in the case of facility rental fees whatever short-term benefit they may be receiving is temporary because my understanding is such deferrals generally need to be repaid at a later date.

In San Carlos alone ten programs applied to the County’s childcare relief program for financial support. Only two of them received funding due to the County’s financial constraints. So there are over $200,000 in requests for emergency financial aid, to help keep childcare facilities open, that are unmet. Putting all of those organizations at risk of going out of business…and once a program closes it can take a long time to launch new childcare facilities even when the world returns to some more normal state.

So I was quite surprised when the Council rejected my call to provide the County emergency relief fund with $250,000 of funding, for them to dole out to qualifying San Carlos childcare facilities. I went higher than the $205,000 of unfulfilled grants because I know there are other childcare facilities who failed to meet the original filing deadline for applications but are also facing financial challenges.

That may sound like a lot of money. But we’ve spent more than that supporting our local downtown businesses. And we expect to end the current fiscal year, next June 30th, with over $25,000,000 of reserves that the Council can deploy wherever it believes it needs to be spent to safeguard the community.

In the end, the Council approved $50,000. Better than nothing…but rather pathetic, IMHO, given the size of the challenge and our resources. I voted against the grant solely and simply because I strongly disagree with the limited nature of the response, and I knew the measure would pass without my support.

When big challenges present themselves local government needs to think big, not small. I hope, someday, the San Carlos City Council recognizes that, for the sake of our community.

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