In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colusa County Community Development Department is seeking input in regards to financial assistance to local businesses.
“Earlier this year we conducted a public outreach effort to identify community projects that we could put some funds available towards,” said Greg Plucker, Community Development Director for the County of Colusa.
Plucker said that the county has about 1.1 million in funds available and received seven applications for seven community projects totaling 2.2 million dollars. These projects predated the coronavirus pandemic and the shutting of businesses.
“Because of the immediate impact, we paused that effort in funding those projects,” said Plucker. “We wanted to explore the immediate needs as a result of the business shutdowns that were occurring that the state was demanding happen at the local level.”
Plucker added that ultimately, the Board would have to decide which projects are of the highest priority to fund with the level of demand for business assistance loans.
“If an eligible project is not funded this go around, our plan is to then to apply for additional funding in the future,” said Plucker.
Over the last several weeks, Plucker and Assistant Planner Tana Loudon proposed two programs to assist local businesses.
“We are trying to develop programs that actually work,” said plucker.
In addition to the program income funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the county has identified an additional $70,000 in grant possibilities.
The first program developed is a low interest loan that potentially could provide up to $35,000 per employee, for employee retention.
“That would allow for businesses of all sizes to apply for the program. This would be a loan program, but could be a deferred loan program from six mos to a year,” said Plucker. “With a possible loan forgiveness based on employee retention.”
Additionally, the grant funding could provide micro-enterprise financial assistance for small businesses with less than five employees.
“Employees must be income qualified,” said Plucker. “We’re looking for this being a grant program, not a loan, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, or more. “
Plucker said that these are just the Initial concepts, and although applications are not available yet, the Community Development department is seeking input and feedback from businesses in Colusa County.
“We know there is a need,” said Plucker. “And we didn’t know if these two programs would be exactly what is needed in the business community. So we need your feedback.”
“We really want to look at how specifically the pandemic has affected your business,” said Loudon. “Are you interested in the programs we have outlined, or are there any other needs that your business may have that these two programs wouldn’t address, we need to know that.”
Loudon stated that other options could be helping to provide personal protection equipment, sensitization supplies, and possibly help businesses with expanding their operations outdoors.
If you would like to provide feedback, or place an interest in either of the two programs, contact Tana Loudon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 458-0486 by Friday, July 24.
“If these programs will work, or not work for you, we still want to hear from you,” said Loudon.
Once inquiries and feedback has been received, the information will be taken to the Board of Supervisors in August to determine funding availability. ■
Editors note: This interview first appeared on the Pioneer Review’s Podcast, just press’d. To listen to the full interview, visit justpressd.buzzsprout.com, or search just press’d on spotify, or Apple Podcast.