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Covid-19 Transparency Request to County

Local leaders in Arden Arcade and Rio Linda Elverta have sent email to County Supervisors Peters and Frost asking for specific information about the Covid-19 pandemic - data and expenditures of federal funds - within the unincorporated UnCity of Sacramento County. The UnCity is enormous. With nearly 600,000 residents - roughly equal to the population of Wyoming - it is the largest political subset within the County. Yet the UnCity is ridiculously treated as some kind of rural appendage - as if, like Wyoming, it has more cows than people. An example is how the County reports Covid-19 data for each city in the County, but lumps data for all unincorporated areas together. When the County reports a finer level of detail, it does so by zip code, a category that doesn’t match the unincorporated communities. Likewise, though the County received $181M from the federal government (CARES Act) for Covid-19, citizens don’t know how much has been spent in the UnCity and where within the UnCity the dollars have been spent.

Cities and counties having at least 500,000 people got CARES Act funds. The City of Sacramento got $89M. It used $5M for emergency medical response expenses and has apportioned 27% of its funds to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations. It has has asked the public for input on the $60M fund balance. Sacramento County received $181M. The County appears to have allocated its funds primarily to defray County employee payroll and telework expenses, to cover health costs for the jail, and for other expenses - such as $825K for homeless medical costs, $54K for homeless motel rooms, and $7K for outdoor dining permits.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the differences between cities (which have Mayors and City Councils to attend to local priorities) and unincorporated areas (which have to rely on the Board of Supervisors) into sharp focus. Supervisors Peters and Frost are responsible for municipal affairs in Arden Arcade and Rio Linda Elverta. Arden Arcade, the 2nd largest Census-Designated-Place in California, has 100,000 people at a density of about 5500 people per square mile. Rio Linda Elverta has about as many people as the City of Galt and sits at the bleeding edge of development in the northeastern part of the County. Those communities within the Uncity deserve to know how the pandemic is affecting the areas specifically and whether/how the CARES Act funds have been deployed there. Here is the text of the email to Supervisors Peters and Frost from the local leaders:

"As infection and hospitalization numbers have reached record levels, we write to ask that the county does more to identify hot spots within our community so that residents and visitors can adjust their activities accordingly, as well as request some additional information on CARES funding.
First, the county has a COVID-19 webpage where cases and deaths are regularly reported down to the city level. However, unincorporated areas are lumped together into a single group. Why is this? The population of the unincorporated areas is so much larger than some of the cities represented, it is a disservice to the unincorporated communities to not have more detailed information beyond #'s by city  and zip code. I know the county has formal boundaries for the areas it considers Arden Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, etc., therefore it should be easy to tie cases back to a geographic space. Furthermore, we are aware of other counties--experiencing the same challenges--that are accommodating identical requests (e.g. Alameda). Surely the County of Sacramento can do the same.
Second, we are aware of CARES funding being provided to the County. There are many residents who are either unaware of this funding being provided, or are unaware of how it has been used or where it is being budgeted. A cursory review of the County's webpage did not uncover this information. Can you please provide a contact or information about how much money the County received in CARES funding, and where these funds have been allocated?
Finally, thank you and the county for what you're doing to educate our community regarding COVID and the actions the county is taking to keep everyone safe and healthy. It is largely a thankless task, but we wanted to convey that we appreciate your efforts.
Hoping to hear from your offices or the county in a timely manner,”
{signed by} Rob Hager (President, Advocates for Arden Arcade), Elizabeth Graham-Overton (President, Greater Arden Chamber of Commerce), Charlea R Moore (Director, Rio Linda Elverta Parks and Recreation Board), John Todd (Chair, Rio Linda Elverta Neighborhood Association), ViAnn Todd (Owner/Publisher, The Rio Linda Messenger)  
May contain: word, file, and text
The County’s Covid-19 dashboard has a lot of information, with specificity for cities in the County but not for the communities within the UnCity


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