Summit County, area towns begin work on economic recovery plans and community resources
DILLON — While Brian Bovaird, Summit County’s emergency management director, said people will probably have to wait “for the dust to settle” a little bit before the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak is completely understood, the county should get a good amount of federal emergency funds to help in recovery.
Bovaird noted that a lot of the county’s expenses would be valid for a reimbursement with a 75% federal, 25% local split. Though there definitely will be some damage to the county’s coffers.
During a teleconference meeting of the Summit Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday evening, county staff walked the board through the county’s expected losses due to COVID-19 closures.
The county is anticipating losing more than $1.25 million in expected sales tax revenues and fees through the end of April. The Summit Stage bus system, funded through a 0.75% countywide sales tax, will lose out on about $1.3 million in expected revenue.
Despite the losses, the county’s fund balances remain relatively healthy, in part due to cuts in spending for fuel, capital purchases and noncritical projects. The county’s general operating fund has about $33 million banked — including a $5 million emergency reserve and $7.4 million in Strong Future funding, well above the county’s target minimum fund balance of $11 million.
As the county starts to look toward recovery and ways to help residents and businesses financially, the local towns also are looking toward recovery.
The Breckenridge Town Council is discussing a program for COVID-19 relief that would provide grants to help small businesses in town pay rent along with providing additional funds to assist with Family & Intercultural Resource Center operations. The new initiatives could mean $1.5 million in additional financial support, and the council could reach a decision as early as this week.
The Frisco Town Council is considering similar and additional measures, including offering to allow residents and businesses to defer water utility payments, allowing businesses to defer sales tax payments to the town and providing more funds to area nonprofits.
Frisco also is spearheading an area Strategic Economic Response Team in partnership with the county government and chamber of commerce. Meetings for the team already have begun, with the goal of becoming a one-stop shop for community members to find out about available financial recovery resources.
“It’s something the town is putting together and staffing,” said Vanessa Agee, Frisco’s director of marketing and communication. “They’re going to come up with a central place for local, state and federal economic resources. But they’re also going to be doing some interpreting of state and federal resources, which can be pretty difficult to wade through, and providing some hands-on assistance with businesses.”
Community members are invited to join the team’s twice weekly meetings by phone Wednesdays and Fridays moving forward. More information can be found at FriscoGov.com.
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