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Countywide Focus

County to Apply for Quake-Recovery Aid

March 09, 1994|SCOTT HADLY

At the urging of Ron Brown, President Clinton's secretary of commerce, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to apply for nearly $6 million in federal grants for businesses hurt by the earthquake.

Supervisor Vicky Howard met with Brown when he visited Fillmore just after the Jan. 17 temblor. Brown told Howard that the Administration wanted to help the county, which is not only suffering from the earthquake, but is still reeling from the lingering effects of the recession.

"He said the President wanted to help and asked us how much money we needed, and I think we said 'How much do you have?' " Howard said.

Federal officials were most interested in funneling money into a planned Economic Development Corporation for the county, which would encourage businesses to stay in the area.

"After Hurricane Hugo, (Florida) lost almost 30% of their businesses, and that's what we all want to avoid," Howard said. "When (the federal officials) heard about our plans for the Economic Development Corporation, they said that's exactly the kind of thing they were interested in."

Howard said there were no guarantees that the county will receive any of the money, but that federal officials indicated that at least a portion of the grants would probably be approved.

If the grants are approved, the county plans to set up a revolving loan program for area businesses hurt by the quake. Ultimately the county wants to develop a long-term plan for keeping businesses as well as attracting more firms to the area.

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