Carpinteria’s City Council approved a temporary moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants at their April 13 meeting, held via Zoom. While councilmembers have also expressed concern for residential evictions, they stated that no action was required to protect individuals from losing their homes since the state of California has banned residential eviction proceedings during the pandemic.
The moratorium will be active as long as the city maintains its local emergency status. During this time, property owners will not be able to file legal proceedings to evict commercial tenants who fail to pay rent because of income loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tenants will still be responsible for paying rent, but they will have 180 days from the date the local emergency expires to pay the full amount due.
Councilmembers hope that the moratorium on evictions will help businesses recover while also creating a timeline for landlords to recoup lost rental income.
Councilmember Roy Lee inquired about extending the ordinance to include forbearance on utility payments for local businesses. While disconnections are already prohibited for residential customers, City Manager Dave Durflinger stated that he would research and report back on possible utility protections for businesses.
Whimsey Antiques’ owners Karen and Alan Clarke submitted a statement to the Council imploring the city to do more to help Carpinteria’s small business community. Like most other retail stores, Whimsey’s Linden Avenue shop has been closed since March 15, leaving the Clarkes with no income. “We are still trying to get on our feet since the fires and mudslides,” they stated, “and this situation is far worse. If Carpinteria wants any small businesses in town to exist, drastic help is needed.”
Council waives business fees
City Council unanimously approved waiving all annual fees for city issued business licenses and the downtown business improvement area assessment (DBIAA). Annual business license fees account for $28,000 in the city’s budget and DBIAA fees $15,000.
Housing Trust contract renewed
The Council approved an agreement to continue receiving consultant services from The Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County to implement and monitor compliance of the Workforce Homebuyer Down Payment Loan Program. The loan program provides deferred repayment of down payment loans to assist low to above-moderate income families in purchasing a home in Carpinteria.
Sea House project extended
The Council authorized a time extension for the development of the Sea House project (formerly Green Heron Springs) and a cost-sharing condition for street and curb improvements on Cravens Lane from Via Real to the frontage of the project. The developer will be responsible for $120,628. The city will be responsible for $175,838 which will come from Measure A funds.
$100,000 earmarked for nonprofit Covid-19 response work
Additional funding of $100,000 from the Measure X Fund was allocated to the Community Services Support Program for the city’s 2020 budget. This action also authorizes the finance committee to distribute funds for Covid-19 response work to organizations currently funded through the program. Supported organizations include United Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, Catholic Charities, Help of Carpinteria, Rape Crisis Center, Carpinteria Children’s Project, 211 Help Line and Community Action Commission’s Healthy Senior Lunch Program. Additionally, this action waives program application requirements for the 2021 budget for organizations receiving a grant in 2020.
City freezes hiring, $1 million in lost revenue
The city of Carpinteria has implemented a temporary hiring freeze on all full time, part-time and part-time seasonal positions for a savings of $300,000 for the final quarter of the 2019/2020 fiscal year. The city expects upwards of $1 million in lost revenue for the fourth quarter from reduced sales and bed (TOT) tax, approximately 10 percent of the city’s overall $10 million general fund. Other funds that will be impacted by the pandemic are Measure X and gas tax revenues.
Re-ratification of local emergency
City Council re-ratified its proclamation of local emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chevron to begin tank removal
Chevron has begun sampling from Tank 861 at the Carpinteria Oil and Gas Plant in preparation for cleaning and eventually removing the tank. This work will involve a large crane for several days to access the tank roof.