Highlights from the City of Yelm's First 'Virtual' Town Hall Meeting
Thank you to all the residents, businesses, and community members who participated in Yelm’s first ‘virtual’ community town hall. Mayor JW Foster, Superintendent of Yelm Community Schools Brian Wharton, and the Yelm Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Line Critchfield provided an update on community resources for children, families, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. For your convenience, here are the highlights:
Community Leaders Establish “Yelm Community Relief Fund”
The “Yelm Community Relief Fund” is a new, privately funded financial support opportunity established by Nicki and JW Foster, America’s Credit Union (ACU) and ‘TOGETHER!’ to provide some immediate relief to residents struggling financially during this pandemic. The purpose of this fund is to help Yelm community members pay their basic bills like, rent, utilities, phone, etc, while waiting for unemployment benefits and the CARES Act stimulus checks to arrive.
Community members may direct donations to any America’s Credit Union (ACU) branch with the notation that it is for the “Yelm Community Relief Fund”. ACU will then provide the funds to “Together!” for distribution based on applications for assistance through this on-line form https://forms.gle/fz4HS5LZuHuk6MF57
Business Licenses Process Improvements and Renewal Timeframe Extended
In coordination with the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR), Mayor JW Foster has authorized the City of Yelm to extend the deadline and allow businesses who have business licenses that expire at the end of March to continue conducting business for an additional two months. This is not an automatic extension and must be requested from DOR. The standard license renewal rate of $25.00 will still apply.
The City has also streamlined the business licensing process in partnership with DOR so businesses now have a one-stop-portal to apply and receive their business license instead of having to applying separately to the State and the City as was done in the past. More information available at: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/run-business/renew-your-business-license
Business and Occupation Tax Deadline Extended
To help local business owners—large and small—the City of Yelm has designed a new electronic form that will help simplify Business and Occupation (B&O) reporting by automatically calculating the total amount due. First Quarter B&O tax filings and payments are always due at the end of April. However, considering the hardship some businesses are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic Mayor JW Foster has authorized Yelm businesses—if needed—to defer their First Quarter 2020 B&O tax filings and payments until July 31 without accruing the interest or penalties specified in Yelm Municipal Code 5.04.090. The City believes this will provide needed support and flexibility to local businesses during the period of financial duress brought on by the coronavirus emergency as declared by the Governor and County Health Department.
Please note, all unpaid past due amounts from 2019 and before are still due and will accrue the appropriate interest and penalties.
Yelm Community Schools Provides Food for Kids and Support for Graduating Seniors
The dedicated staff of our school district continues preparing and delivering an average of 1,200 bags of food every day. Deliveries include lunch for the day and breakfast for the following morning. These meals are FREE for kids and they are no longer required to be present if someone wants to pick up a meal on behalf of a student. The "Backpacks For Kids" program aimed at helping students grades K-12 battling homelessness is still going strong thanks to support from YCS, Yelm Rotary, and the City of Yelm. The school district has established a Child Care facility established for first responders in partnership with YCARE at Millpond Elementary and teachers are providing online resources for students, with special support for High School Seniors to help ensure they continue the work to earn the credits necessary to graduate on time. Although there is a lot of uncertainty about what graduation will look like this year, YCS is dedicated to honoring its seniors and congratulating them on all they accomplished in the last 13 years. For more questions about graduation or ideas about the ceremony please contact the Yelm High School Principal, John Johnson.
Yelm Chamber of Commerce Launches Business Economic Recovery Task Force
The Chamber leadership highlighted an abundance of resources available for local businesses, many of which are summarized on the City of Yelm and Chamber’s websites and social media pages. The Yelm Chamber has moved to an online forum to maximize social distancing and announced the creation of the Business Economic Recovery Task Force. In addition to resources listed above, Executive Director Line Critchfield encouraged everyone to continue supporting Yelm Businesses, highlighted “Yelm-To-Go” for online menus to help with placing pick-up orders. She also wanted everyone to have the Business Resource Hotline: 1-888-821-6652 and great resources available through ‘Thurston Strong’ at: https://www.thurstonstrong.org/. Even if you are not currently a member of the Chamber, they are here to help you with any and all your business needs.
The City of Yelm has compiled several resources including:
- Support for Yelm residents and community members: https://www.yelmwa.gov/government/mayor_s_office/covid-19_community_resources/citizen_resources.php
- Support for Yelm businesses:
- Public health information and updates about COVID-19:
We appreciate everyone’s patience and support during this time. Stay tuned and stay healthy. We’re all in this together!
For audio of the 'virtual' town hall please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2EJBbiUayk