CARPINTERIA, Calif. -- Carpinteria wants more than just a boost through the government stimulus plans laid out so far, or those in the works with the new President Biden administration.
A letter to Rep. Salud Carbajal (D- 24th District) will be in front of the City Council on Monday calling for new ideas to help businesses and property owners get through the financial challenges.
It's a call out for attention here and everywhere that has had a business setback because full use of the owner or tenants property has been restricted by COVID-19 rules.
Mayor Wade Nomura says the city needs more funding and financial relief that it's seen in the pipeline.
There is already a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent.
The city has also poured in funds to help business with grants, along with permits to expand where they can, into newly designed patio and parklet spaces. Some have not been able to expand out into streets or patios because of their locations.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act or the "CARES Act" has help in many cases but Carpinteria is asking for more relief.
Many businesses are small, locally owned and financial fragile.
The City wants legislation for assistance to leases that lost full use of their space. Some restaurants, for example, could not serve inside, or for months were limited to 25% capacity.
The letter suggest possible assistance "in the form of direct payments to leases, to offset lease payments, or landlords, in exchange for reducing rent for affected businesses, tax breaks, relief from mortgage payments, or other creative options."
The City is asking for help that goes beyond the COVID Relief Legislation.
Carpinteria City councilman Roy Lee is also a businessman who owns the Uncle Chen restaurant with his family. He says, "People know the rules and they are ready to follow them as they go out."
He believes, unlike last year, more people are wearing masks and taking safety measures. In 2020 there was push back for several months.
The Uncle Chen restaurant is in an area where a patio or parklet has not been added and he remains only take out and delivery. He says many businesses and especially small town restaurants are stuck with this dilemma.
"The state won't let us use all the space and it's not fair. We have done everything right. We pay our bills. We follow the rules and yet we can't have anybody inside," said Lee.
He says the new plan being suggested is a win-win plan with government help for tenants and landlords. It provides a new option for financial relief. It helps the landlords pay their mortgages, the tenants can pay their rents and also keep their employees on staff .
During the crisis, the city has opened its wallet too.
Lee says, "Our city offered any business that applied, $1,300 in direct grant money in addition we suspended all permit fees."
Other small businesses including one that opened during the crisis see the benefit of additional help where inside space has been restricted by COVID rules.
Susan Ochoa opened the Lost and Found store last year. "We didn't have summer people this year so it has been very lean but the community has been incredibly supportive."
She also says because she hasn't been open a year she doesn't qualify for some of the relief options as required.
Lost and Found offers coffee, baked goods and coastal style gifts. Financial as a start up they don't want to slide any further back.
Ochoa said, "Yea we are going to have try to make that up at some point but I think we are in a great spot, in a great community."
Her optimism during the crisis is often rare with business owners. "I feel super lucky to live hear much less have my business here so we will make it through. The whole country will make it through."
Customers as well are also deeply concerned. Lee said, "We are amazing- resilient. The community support has been amazing. People come here and they don't want us to close. They want us to succeed. "