ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 26, 2020) — The Anaheim City Council, in a special meeting Thursday, approved an economic recovery plan that could see up to $15 million in city spending to help seniors, the homeless, needy families and to promote business and the return of tourism and conventions when the time is right.
The plan, brought forth by Mayor Harry Sidhu, calls for up to $8 million in community spending and $7 million to support businesses and tourism.
“Coronavirus is the challenge of our time,” Sidhu said. “Our first responders and our entire city is rising to that challenge. But a vital part of any crisis is recovery. This plan will address the needs of those who are suffering now and prepare for us to welcome back visitors when it is safe and responsible to do so.”
Under the plan, $6 million would be made available to Anaheim’s city manager to support programs to address homelessness, support the city’s rental-assistance programs and to continue to fund city services for residents as needed.
A $2 million grant to the Anaheim Community Foundation would provide direct assistance to seniors, needy families and others by funding nonprofits that serve Anaheim.
The plan calls for spending up to $6.5 million from the Anaheim Convention Center to support Visit Anaheim, which markets Anaheim to tourists, conventions, conferences and other events.
The city will spend $500,000 to encourage dining, shopping and buying at Anaheim businesses as part of a shop local campaign.
Hotels, many of which have temporarily closed or are seeing fewer guests, will be afforded a deferment of any fines, penalties or enforcement if they are unable to pay hotel-stay tax for 90 days.
Businesses pursuing projects in the city will see extended deadlines and deferred, reduced or waived fees, streamlined plan checks and other regulatory relief.
The funding for Visit Anaheim is expected to support the continued marketing of the Anaheim Convention Center to conventions, conferences and other events.
As visitors come to Anaheim for conventions, conferences and events, they stay in hotels and dine out, which generates revenue for public safety and community services.
About 60 percent of what Anaheim spends on police, fire, staffing at libraries and community centers and other services comes from visitor spending at hotels, restaurants and shops.
With an annual budget of $21 million funded largely by hotels, Visit Anaheim is facing a 50 percent drop in funding as hotels have temporarily closed or are hosting few visitors.
The one-time city funding aims to keep the organization in place as the tourism downturn of March continues into April and potentially beyond.
Visit Anaheim will be expected to help reschedule Anaheim Convention Center events deferred from March, April and May.
It will also seek to bring new business to the convention center as groups that deferred in other markets look to reschedule their events, potentially in Anaheim.
And Visit Anaheim will also help book events for the Anaheim Convention Center in 2021 and beyond.
The plan calls for Visit Anaheim to provide performance measures to account for the city funding it receives.
You can see a fact sheet summary of the plan here.
For regular updates on coronavirus, please see Anaheim.net/coronavirus.