County Administrator Stephen Larson and Human Resources Director Darren Brooke report that grant applications for small business relief funding are coming in following the August 18 press briefing announcing availability. The county set aside $2.25 million in CARES Act dollars for small business relief, allotting up to $10,000 for businesses with fewer than 20 full time employees and $3000 for sole proprietorships. They added that $250,000 is set aside for 501(c)3 and 501(c)19 organizations. The application deadline is September 7 for the noncompetitive grants.
Larson says that 38 grant applications have been received to date. He anticipates all 38 applications will have been reviewed by end-of-day on August 25. Each qualifying grant application is reviewed by two individuals representing the county and cities. Applications may be submitted for further review to the larger CARES Act Committee. Applications by community to date are:
Clay County outside city limits-4
Commissioner Kevin Campbell says he is disappointed that more applications have not been received. He recommended a Facebook ad be purchased, using CARES funds, targeting Clay County users of that platform. He declared, “I think that we need to take every step to get the word out. I just don’t know if we are going far enough.”
As of August 24, only one township CARES Act grant application has been received from Clay County’s 17 townships, despite $154,000 having been set aside to assist them with COVID-related expenses. Commissioner Jenny Mongeau expressed concern that township boards may not realize that funds they receive can be redirected to local schools and public service groups which serve township residents. Examples of township purchases around the state include plexiglass supplies for social distancing and tents to provide extra space for socially-distanced seating. Mongeau suggested that township meeting schedules changed due to COVID but thought communication from the county recommending a special township meeting to discuss the grant application would be useful. County Administrator Larson emphasized that the application requires only four lines to be filled out plus a signature.
Campbell concludes, “There is a significant amount of money here that has been provided for our businesses that suffered during this pandemic. I want to see it out there. We all do.”