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LOCAL NEWS: Seaside offers financial aid to residents and businesses

LOCAL NEWS: Seaside offers financial aid to residents and businesses

The Seaside City Council met last night and approved financial relief measures. Joanne Rideout has more.

The council approved three separate proposals to help ease the burden for residents and business owners struggling with financial issues because of COVID-19.

Their first proposal is aimed at hotels and lodging partners. For those businesses, the city will waive transient room taxes due for the quarter ending March 31 for all short term lodging entities in the city limits. The TRT is a 10 percent city tax that is collected in addition to the room rate for short term guests who stay for less than 30 days. Businesses must still complete and submit the usual room tax form, minus the collected funds by April 10. Business owners must submit forms in order to take advantage of the program and it does not apply to businesses with outstanding room taxes owed. The city will issue refunds to businesses that have already paid the room tax. The program is a one time relief package.

For businesses other than lodging, the city is offering emergency grant funding for eligible small businesses and non-profits in the tourism economy, who have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants up to $4,000 each are available. Grants must be used to keep employees on payroll, pay for sick leave, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Grants may also be used to develop websites and add online shopping and updated point of sale capabilities.

Eligible applicants include but are not limited to restaurants, shops, galleries, cafes and entertainment establishments that have been operating for a full year as of April 1st.

The city also OK’d a one time $50 credit on waterbills to all residential and commercial customers for the April billing cycle.

Mark Winstanley is Seaside city manager:

[Winstanley1] Mark Winstanley: “And what we finally just figured was that maybe the most equitable way and the way we could have the most impact on everybody is to put a $50 credit on everybody’s water bill that we’re going to be shipping out this April. And for those people that are lower income people, maybe retired people maybe on fixed incomes. Those people that traditionally only have a water bill that is only for $120 or so, a $50 credit is going to be very helpful.”

The water credit affects approximately 3500 customers.

Winstanley said the assistance programs the city approved are costly but needed.

[Winstanley 2] Mark Winstanley: “You’re looking now at a package that approaches a million dollars. I think that is a very generous package, if you do this that you’ll be able to put together, in total to our community. And I think we’ve done everything we can to try to reach out and hit every sector of your community, and try to provide help to everyone.

The council voted unanimously to approve all three proposals.