RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors tomorrow will consider whether to form a task force comprised of Riverside County agencies and private sector entities that would focus on identifying policies and measures to lift the region out of the fiscal doldrums as the coronavirus emergency comes to an end.
“A task force provides the opportunity for staff and stakeholders to work together to draw on resources and expertise in aggregating information from the health, social and economic sectors,” according to the proposal submitted by board Chair Manuel Perez and Supervisor Karen Spiegel.
“The Economic Recovery Task Force should review short-term measures, exploring temporary actions that support businesses reopening in order to put our workforce back to work,” they stated in documents posted to the board’s Tuesday agenda.
The plan does not specify any clear steps to promote recovery, leaving those to whichever county staff members, merchants, entrepreneurs and others are situated on the proposed task force.
“The task force will provide recommendations for a slow and cautious re-opening of allowed activity through best practices for all business industries,” according to the supervisors’ motion.
They noted that it would be part of the new group’s job to “monitor the pandemic development and reassess challenges.” The overriding goal would be restoring the county’s “long-term economic health” by working to serve “those currently facing economic hardship and creating a path forward during this unprecedented time.”
The shape and structure of the proposed task force is expected to be ironed out during a board discussion. Perez and Spiegel are seeking to establish an 18-month time frame for the group’s mission to be fulfilled.
Last week, President Donald Trump outlined a multi-phase “Opening Up America Again” plan, providing guidelines for states and localities to follow as the virus threat recedes and businesses seek to resume pre-emergency operations.
On Friday, county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser acknowledged that conditions countywide are gradually improving, and the area may soon fall into Phase One of the president’s “gating criteria,” permitting groups of 10 or less to socialize with appropriate precautionary actions and providing ways for employers to bring workers back on the job incrementally, with safeguards in place.
During the Great Recession of 2008-09, the board implemented various changes to reduce costs and stimulate business activity, with across-the-board salary cuts in county government and 50% reductions in development impact fees, which commercial and residential developers pay as part of the permitting process.