Small businesses may receive their security deposits from Riverside Public Utilities to use toward their accounts with the department in an effort to reduce the 57 percent delinquency rate caused by the pandemic.
In a meeting last evening, the city’s Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved a temporary revision to two of the RPU electric and water rules, which would enable small commercial customers to apply for their deposits. The revision, recommended by Councilmember Ronaldo Fierro, awaits City Council approval this afternoon. If passed, it could mean the return of nearly $3 million in deposits.
“This measure builds upon the extraordinary efforts of the Riverside community to come together and provide relief for those most impacted by the effects of COVID-19 – including our brick and mortar small businesses,” Fierro said.
Rico Alderette owns Riverside artisan boutique Made. with his wife Rheiana and said the approval of this revision would help after a difficult year.
“Everyone knows it’s in that three-to-five year range where you know if you’re going to make it or break it as a business,” Alderette said. He continued that after consistent growth in annual revenue each year from their opening in 2015, the economic effects of the pandemic left them with a 30 percent decline in annual revenue growth in 2020.
“Local relief measures such as these have and will be instrumental towards a successful economic recovery and rebound from the Pandemic in 2021 and beyond,” Fierro said.
If approved in today’s City Council meeting, small commercial customers with RPU who meet the necessary requirements will be able to apply for their deposits before March 31.