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Covid-relief money flows to Citrus Heights, a city

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According to the Citrus Heights Sentinel, the City of Citrus Heights has received $7.8M for Covid-19 relief. It's the first of two increments from the federal government's American Rescue Plan Act. Within 12 months the city will get a second increment, bringing the totaL to almost $16M. That's quite a help for the City's budget, which, like other municipalities, took a hit during the pandemic. It's hard to get sales tax money from closed businesses, isn't it? But there are certain municipal services that have to be delivered no matter what - like law enforcement, or voting (2020 was a big-deal election year), or infrastructure maintenance. The City has a budget in the realm of $60M. Until the virus came along, the City took in more than it spent. From fiscal year 2019/2020, when the Covid-19 closures began, to  expects a slightly larger loss for 2020/2021 ($6.5M). Keep in mind that the City has been subsidizing Sacramento County to the tune of about $6M/yr for the alimony payment that resulted from the city's incorporation almost a quarter century ago. The pandemic losses have roughly matched the alimony payments, which indicates the City has continued to put its residents' needs first. And, if you make the reasonable assumption that the effects of the virus on the budget will continue into the new fiscal year, the federal payments are just about right. OK, good. Citrus Heights will be made whole. And the County has kept getting subsidized. Life goes on.

Wait a sec, what about us? As a city with 88,000 people, Citrus Heights is getting $16M of federal Covid-19 relief money. Arden Arcade is not a city, even though we are a bigger urban area (22% more people) than Citrus Heights. Arden Arcade relies on Sacramento County for it's municipal services. Will Arden Arcade get Covid-19 relief money? The feds are giving counties a chunk of funds, too. Sacramento County will be getting some $301M. One would think some of the County dollars could be used for Arden Arcade, right? Hahaha! If you've read this blog before you know not to hold your breath. The County has a legitimate claim on funds for its region-wide pandemic expenses - it has been a public health crisis after all. It also can legitimately claim municipal service revenue losses across its vast unincorporated area, the UnCity.  But the County also has a history of using Covid-19 relief money inappropriately and it gets to pick and choose how it spends its budget for municipal affairs (Are the needs bigger in Carmichael or Orangevale? Or are they identical among the Supervisors' districts?). Based on the federal dollars targeted at Citrus Heights, Arden Arcade might get, say, $19M from the federal rescue plan. But it won't, because it's not a city and the chances the Board of Supervisors will apportion anything other than bread crumbs our way are...let's just say between slim and none. Our situation would be different if Arden Arcade was incorporated. But it's not, so nothing will change.

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