But the city received its allotment of CARES funds last month. During its Oct 19 meeting the commission voted taking $500,000 out of CARES and repaying the existing small business loans, thereby converting the loans to grants. The commission also voted to take an additional $400,000 in CARES funds and apply those towards a new small business grant program.
This new grant program will adopt an application process similar to the original loan program. Criteria is similar except that the new process allows for sole proprietors and extends the maximum number of full-time equivalent employees from 30 (in the original loan program) to 50.
As before applicants can request from $5,000 to $25,000. A blind lottery will again select the grantees if the application requests surpass the money available. The 17 businesses that didn’t make the lottery cut in June would have to re-apply.
Angela Threadgill, the city’s Planning & Economic Development Director, and the DDA Executive Director, said she won’t know until next week the timeline for applying, though it will likely commence in early- to mid-November. As required by the CARES Act, the money has to be dispersed by Dec. 20.
No money has to be repaid as long as businesses meet certain criteria including that it’s still operating or intends to resume operation no later than December 20, 2020, that it’s located within city limits, and that all taxes and fees owed to the city are paid up when the request is submitted.
A separate program for $300,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations is expected to be recommended to the City Commissioners at their regular meeting on November 2.