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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County expands reach of $40M Small Business Impact Grant program to include all business, COVID-19 aid recipients


July 28, 2020

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SALT LAKE CITY  ̶  Salt Lake County opened its Small Business Impact Grant to businesses closed by COVID-19’s public health orders with the goal of reaching small businesses forgotten in the rush of initial federal relief.
 
Since June 16, Salt Lake County successfully reached out to thousands of eligible business owners and has awarded $2.4 million in grants to 142 businesses across the County, with $2.1 million in grants requested by businesses still under review. Based on documented losses, the average grant award in the first round was $17,000.
 
During Round 1, Salt Lake County found 45% of the businesses that applied were outside the main industries temporarily closed, but still felt the very real effects of COVID-19 and a need for more support. Another large segment of applicants received federal aid from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), but the loans were not enough to sustain businesses through this extended period of the disease’s spread.
While economic recovery will continue to be a long-term strategic effort, the County is committed to mitigating short-term effects in its collaborative effort to stabilize the economy.
 
In Round 2 of the SBIG Program launching immediately, all business industries are eligible to apply, as well as those who received other federal, state, or local COVID-19 aid. Those who received financial aid through CARES Act funding are eligible if their amount did not exceed $35,000. These changes will allow thousands of more businesses to apply and avoid taking on additional debt.
 
“Listening to business owners in the past month, we learned and assessed additional needs required to prevent our small businesses from closing,” said Salt Lake County’s Regional Development Director Dina Blaes. “After meeting the SBIG’s initial goals, this second round is in response to those developing needs. The County is uniquely positioned to pivot more quickly than federal programs, and we aim to get more money into the economy as fast as we can.”
 
The grant cannot be used for duplication of expenses in the same timeframe. It can be used for losses from March 16 to July 31. Applicants with questions are urged to call the County’s Business Relief Hotline, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at (385) 468-4011. Extensive FAQs are available online in multiple languages. The application is open and accessible at slco.org/covid-19/.

Invested in environmental issues in Salt Lake County? Give your input in a new survey.


July 22, 2020

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Environmental Survey 2020.jpg

Salt Lake County believes environmental services are a key part of the valley's future. This year, Regional Development is in the early stages of creating an environmental data portal.

The concept is to build a centralized platform to access data covering a wide spectrum of environmental issues. It will be publicly accessible, transparent, visually interesting, and easy to use and understand.

Examples of similar platforms are Salt Lake Health's COVID-19 Data Dashboard and Regional Development's Economic Information Portal.

Below is a simple survey, which will help guide this new project moving forward. As a member of the public, your input will be invaluable as we build out the platform and decide which data sets to highlight.

Take the survey here.

Please forward the survey to anyone in your network whose expertise would add insight to the survey's results. The more responses we receive, the better information we will have to build out the platform and future strategy for environmental services.

Questions? Contact Michael Shea at mshea@slco.org.


#DataTuesday: Salt Lake County Sees 2% Increase in May Taxable Sales, Restaurants Continue to Hurt


July 21, 2020

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Utah State Tax Commission released data for May’s taxable sales on July 16, providing another snapshot of Salt Lake County’s economy during COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Salt Lake County’s Economic Impact Working Group has worked with the State Tax Commission to get data sets faster to more quickly visualize local economic indicators on the Economic Impact Information Portal. A first glance of May 2020, Salt Lake County saw a 2.4% increase in total taxable sales over May 2019, which is a departure from April’s 5.9% decrease over the previous April. In May, online shopping taxable sales were the strongest and grew by $85.5 million dollars.

A graph depicts % change of taxable sales from March to May 2020.

On the flipside, restaurants and bars continue to feel the pain of large declines. In May, the industry saw upwards of $58 million decrease in sales – an improvement over April, but still the largest monetary decline of all Salt Lake County’s industries by far. This was also during the time of the State lifting some restrictions with color-coded phases, and COVID-19 cases in the County only totaling approximately 2,811 for the month.

Image Caption: The graph shown can be found in Dashboard 2, Page 5.

The restaurant industry’s May decrease can be seen on the Info Portal’s new dashboard page: 2019-2020 Taxable Sales Comparison, which allows users to directly compare data during COVID-19 months and view the dollar amount changed, as well as the percent change by major business categories.

Looking at the months of COVID-19 collectively, the industry with the greatest percentage decrease has now become Accommodations after inclusion of May’s preliminary data. The industry’s taxable sales have dropped 65%.

Because Salt Lake County is working to get data more quickly, it should be noted that the current data is preliminary and subject to revision due to late returns, amended returns, required statutory/regulatory changes, and others that impact tax return data. We would also like to note for County and city officials that this metric is different than the tax distribution they will receive for May.

Taxable sales data is obtained from sales tax returns from monthly, quarterly, and annual filers. Taxable sales data reported by quarterly and annual filers are included in the last month of each quarter and year. This results in relatively higher taxable sales numbers in filing periods at the end of each quarter.

The Info Portal, found at https://slco.org/slcomunidata/, is a new tool created during COVID-19 to help Salt Lake County assess the pandemic’s economic impact so policies and programs can aid in short- and long-term economic recovery.


School Districts' Re-opening Plans For Children of Salt Lake County's Workforce


July 16, 2020

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School districts across Utah are required to let the state know their plans for re-opening by Aug. 1, based on planning requirements outlined by the Utah State Board of Education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many districts are in the process of proposing plans and adopting changes, based on parent and teacher feedback. 

As key stakeholders in Utah education debate best courses of action, top concerns for 2020-21 school year emphasize equity (or lack of), access to affordable, high-quality childcare, the unforeseen expenses of childcare and that potential impact on families making ends meet.

Among questions that still need solutions are how does Utah, and Salt Lake County, leverage existing programs? Where are childcare deserts? Will Congress' discussion of additional funding include childcare?

The following summarizes plans currently proposed and under finalization for seven school districts, including  Canyons, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Salt Lake, as well as Alpine and Davis.

Canyons School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 17
An update to the proposed plan was presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Option 1: Return to Classes
  • Monday-Friday
Option 2: Offering an online-only option for those who cannot or do not want to return physically
  • Would be issued a device and arrange for connectivity
  • Not real-time classes
  • Not directly connected to their neighborhood or teacher
Option 3: Homeschool
  • In case of temporary re-closure: Spring soft closure plans updated for later use

Granite School District

The School Board approved a re-opening plan on July 14. Individual school plans will be posted on websites Aug. 5.

First Day of Classes: Aug. 24

Option 1 Attendance Plan: In-Person Instruction
  • Traditional calendar
Option 2: Teacher-Delivered Distance Learning
  • Based off the Spring model, with modifications and enhancements
Other options that are being prepared include a Dismissal Schedule and a Modified Schedule. Distance learning will take place if recommended by SLCoHD or Governor’s Office. A Modified Schedule is comprised of:
  • Monday-Thursday, with students divided in half alphabetically for scheduling
    • Half attend Monday and Wednesday
    • Half attend Tuesday and Thursday
    • All Fridays are remote
Granite School District's Survey Results of Parents on Comfort Levels

Jordan School District

The final re-opening plan will be released by July 24; parts were approved on July 6.

First Day of Classes: Aug. 18

Option 1: At-school learning
  • Monday-Thursday
  • Students will not attend on Fridays, will conduct learning at home
Option 2: Virtual Learning
  • Courses created by teachers during the summer
  • Will include teacher interaction

Murray School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 17
  • First 2 weeks of school will be early dismissal
  • Kindergarten begins Sept. 8
Option 1: In-Person Classroom Instruction
Option 2: Blended Learning Resource
  • Allows students to jump between in-person and through technology should a student be absent or become ill
  • Student will attend in-person except when absent
Option 3: Murray Online Resource – Directed
  • Families that do not want to send their students back will have these options.
  • Available for all Grades K-12
  • Canvas will be used by secondary schools and Google Classroom for elementary schools
  • Meal service will be developed for students learning at home
Option 4: Murray Online Resource –Independent
  • The Online Learning-Independent option is self-directed and overseen by a teacher with all learning strictly online
  • Only available for Grades 7-12

Salt Lake City School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 25

Scenario 1: If in Red or Orange Phase, SLCSD instruction will be online only

Scenario 2: If in Yellow, schools will begin on “Modified Schedule,” which includes learning in class and remote learning
  • Student schedules will vary by day and will be communicated by principals
    • Mondays/Thursdays and Tuesdays/Fridays
    • Wednesdays will be digital learning
  • Class sizes will be smaller to facilitate social distancing
  • Canvas will be used as a consistent learning platform for all classes
  • Lunch in classrooms
Other option: Homeschooling/Online
  • Path for parents who don’t want their kids to go to school in person

Surrounding Districts that can Impact SLCo Commuting Workforce

Alpine School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 18

Option 1: Face-to-Face Instruction

  • Modified schedule: Elementary students released 1 hour early
  • Exact schedule will be released after July 27 once the District receives parent declarations
Option 2: Blended - Online Learning with classroom support
  • Face-to-face interaction with teachers at least 2x per week
  • All will have an assigned class schedule with ASD teachers
  • Google Classroom is the learning platform for elementary, Canvas for secondary educators and students
Option 3: ASD Online Services – East Shore Online/Alpine Online
  • For students and parents intending to provide homeschooling with support
  • Online full time

Davis School District

First Day of Class: Aug. 25

Option 1: In-Person

  • 5 days a week
  • Traditional early-out/late-start: Friday elementary dismissal: 1:25 p.m., Friday junior high dismissal: 2 p.m., Tuesday high school late start: 1 hour.
Option 2: Davis Connect K-12 Online School
  • Work online with a teacher during school hours
  • Not enrolled in original school
Option 3: Davis Connect K-12 Independent Study
  • Work online independently at own pace with active parent support
  • Not enrolled in original school

Priority enrollment requests processed through Aug. 1, after which requests will be determined by availability.

Education Changes’ Impact on the Health of the Workforce and Economy

Experts in education and children's needs are convening to identify solutions for problems exacerbated by COVID-19.
  1. Childcare & Schedules
    • Can the Childcare Industry infrastructure support families from school districts who are out additional school days, and whose parents cannot stay home from work?
    • What resources are available to students who must continue learning at home but have working parents?
    • What percentage of the workforce can work from home? What percentage of the workforce cannot work from home?
    • What problems will arise and need solutions from irregular schedules in elementary and secondary schools? How will these irregularities impact the workforce?
  2. Cost of additional childcare
    Can families support the burden of unplanned costs for increased childcare due to COVID-19? How might that impact their ability to make ends meet -- food security, housing stability
  3. Food Security
    According to GSD, those surveyed that qualify for free meals were also more likely to prefer distanced learning. How are students (and their families) going to be fed if learning remotely or only in school 2-3 days a week?
  4. Labor
    Do the school districts feel there are sufficient teachers or substitutes available should others become ill? Can the workforce meet this need?
  5. Education Funding
    In reverse, do leaders anticipate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 could result in a Recession-like repeat of teacher cuts following in 2021-22 or subsequent school years? What solutions can be put in place if education revenue drops 10%
  6. School Supplies
    Do schools in Salt Lake County have enough PPE or money to source PPE? 
  7. Resources at Charter Schools and Private Schools
    Do COVID-19 changes put charter schools at heightened economic risk?

Do you have questions or suggestions? Email jcarroll@slco.org.