Roll back relief is on the way.
That’s the word from the Pierce County Council in the form of its April 13 vote, unanimously adopting an emergency ordinance approving the use of $4 million from the county’s general fund to support local businesses. The vote comes three days before the county “rolls back” from Phase 3 to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feared once the announcement was made that our businesses would not know they had — that we had their back and were able to help support them, hopefully not losing more businesses and jobs in the process,” council Chair Derek Young said, calling the move backward to Phase 2, based on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, a “gut punch.”
A program created by the ordinance offers a one-time, needs-based grant of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses. The program is to be administered by the director of Pierce County Economic Development, with staff to conduct outreach into unincorporated Pierce County to improve awareness of the program.
The following businesses are eligible for funding: restaurants, tap rooms, caterers and similar eating and drinking establishments without a drive-through; in-store retail; arts and culture establishments such as theaters, museums and entertainment venues; fitness facilities, gyms and bowling alleys; and farmers markets.
Eligibility requirements for businesses and nonprofits include having 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (there are no employee limits for eating/drinking establishments), being directly impacted by the Phase 2 rollback and not being part of a corporate chain or corporate franchise.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. on April 23. Go to https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7239/2021-Rollback-Relief-Grant to apply.
In other business, the Pierce County Council approved the Puyallup-White River, Chambers-Clover and Kitsap watershed restoration and enhancement plans to conform with the 2018 Streamflow Restoration Act, a law that helps restore streamflows to levels necessary to support healthy and sustainable salmon populations while providing water for homes in rural Washington.
The law was a response to a 2016 Washington State Supreme Court ruling — the Hirst decision — limiting a landowner’s ability to get a building permit for a new home when the proposed source of water was a permit-exempt well.
• The council passed a supplemental budget adjustment to the 2021-2022 biennial budget.
• The council passed a resolution confirming Marcus Young to the Frederickson Advisory Board.
• The council passed a resolution recognizing April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month in Pierce County.