Checks are being sent via mail from Colusa County to local businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
Community Development Director Greg Plucker said Colusa County processed the first 34 checks from the CRF Small Business Grant Program last week totaling $177,000, and more will be issued this week or next.
The grants come from a $1 million allocation from County County’s CARES Act funding, which the Board of Supervisors approved in August to directly support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The grants provide funding for struggling small businesses to use for payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, inventory supplies, personal protection, disinfectants and other expenditures. There is no repayment requirement, officials said.
“The first round of applications closed on Sept. 9,” Plucker said. “We received 48 applications, requesting nearly $315,000 in funding; 37 applications came from the cities and 11 came from the unincorporated areas.”
Plucker said the county anticipates that 41 of those businesses will receive a combined $218,000 in grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 (or less depending on amount of loss), but that about $277,000 will be awarded in the first round after the county works through some issues with a few applications.
Because Colusa County still has more money allocated, Plucker said his office is gearing up for round two.
“We are going to make some changes,” he said. “The first change is we are going to have the minimum grant and maximum grant $10,000, so all small businesses, even if you are five (employees) or less than 25, you are eligible for the same $10,000.”
Plucker said the change was made after the county saw the biggest impact is on very small businesses, either single operator or two-person businesses like hair salons and small gyms. “They are the ones, as a result of state-mandated shutdowns, that have been impacted very heavily,” he said.
Plucker said another change is that businesses who missed out on the first round of funding will still be able to apply for both the first round of funding and the second, and that first round recipients that received $5,000 may be awarded the full $10,000, without reapplying.
Plucker said businesses are encouraged to apply for the grants online or by completing a downloadable grant application packet at countyofcolusa.org.
Grant applications for round two will be accepted until Oct. 14 with $600,000 likely awarded by the end of the month.
Plucker was overwhelmed at how appreciative business owners are to Colusa County for offering them the lifeline during such difficult financial times.
“It’s putting money directly into their pockets and Colusa County is allowing them the flexibility to use that money to keep their businesses operating,” Plucker said. ♣