Front of Library

The city of Half Moon Bay will not be making its usual loan payment for the public library this month after San Mateo County agreed to pause payment for a year.

Since 2019, the city has been on track with its loan payments of about $286,000 every April and December until the pandemic hit. In June of this year, the city said it had to redirect funds to deal with a sudden decrease in revenue and unanticipated COVID-19-related costs.

The county, which gave the city $6 million in an interest-free loan to construct the new library, agreed to the deal so long as the city would pay two years’ worth — $1.14 million — in full in fiscal year 2021-2022. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution for the updated loan terms on June 23 after the city approached the county in late May.

The move means the city didn’t have to come up with $572,000 in time for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-2021.

County Board Supervisor Don Horsley said he had no qualms granting the extension given the county’s good working relationship with the city of Half Moon Bay.

“We’re all struggling and we’re not going to force the city to reduce services,” Horsley said. “And if it came to it, we would extend the loan again.”

During the pandemic, the library has offered a range of key services, including free WiFi, flu shots and a site for Ayudando Latino a Soñar’s weekly food pantry. Though the library has moved to curbside pickup due to shelter-in-place orders, operations have not been impacted by the loan deferment. Library operations are run by a separate joint powers agreement that is funded by a countywide tax levy in place for decades.

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