Park City poised to distribute $150,000 to assistance groups in response to pandemic
City Hall is poised to distribute a combined $150,000 to five organizations seen as providing crucial assistance amid the economic chaos caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus, a signal of leaders’ willingness to open the purse strings for certain reasons at a moment when the municipal government’s own budget has been knocked about.
The funds are expected to be distributed as special relief grants and do not involve repayment. The planned recipients are:
• the Christian Center of Park City, $60,000
• the Park City Community Foundation, $50,000. The organization’s board of directors indicated it would match the $50,000.
• the People’s Health Clinic, $20,000
• the Peace House, $10,000
• Jewish Family Service, $10,000
“We wanted to help the groups that had urgent needs right now,” Mayor Andy Beerman said in an interview, acknowledging it is a difficult time for City Hall to carve out monies in the budget for the assistance.
He said City Hall intends to distribute the funds with “very little restrictions” on the use of the monies. He said the Christian Center of Park City is anticipated to use the funds for a program that offers assistance with rent, groceries or other needs. The monies that will go to the Park City Community Foundation are earmarked for the organization’s Community Response Fund, he said. The three other organizations will be able to put the funds to programs of their choice.
The Park City Council must approve the grants. A vote could occur at a meeting in April.
The Christian Center of Park City has appeared to play an especially key role in recent weeks as layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours mounted with the closings of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort weeks before scheduled. Numerous other businesses have temporarily closed or greatly reduced hours and operations. Large and small businesses have been impacted.
Rob Harter, the executive director of the Christian Center of Park City, recently outlined the efforts in remarks during a Virtual Coffee With Council, a digital event hosted by City Hall to provide updates about the work of the municipal government and others as the impacts of the novel coronavirus are addressed locally.
Harter during the Virtual Coffee With Council said more than 500 families applied for assistance over a period of two weeks. The Christian Center of Park City generally provided between $400 and $500 per family to assist with expenses like rent. The applications rose to the point they have been temporarily halted based on the number, he said. The Christian Center of Park City plans to reopen applications on Monday.
Harter in an interview on Thursday said the Christian Center of Park City typically received between 15 and 20 applications for assistance each week prior to the spread of the sickness. The organization’s financial assistance is paid directly to landlords or utility companies.
Harter said the sharp increase in requests for assistance covers April expenses. He said there is concern about the expenses in May and June as well.
“There’s a lot of need out there for the next three months, potentially,” he said.
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Sales-tax collections in Park City in July beat City Hall projections by a wide margin, providing a key data point that illustrates a nascent economic comeback of sorts from the spring business shutdowns.