10/5/2020 11:47:00 AM Cares Act assistance: apply by October 21
Even as Covid-19 case numbers keep growing with the virus nowhere near contained-- the money that is meant to relieve some of its negative economic impacts is disappearing. Chisago County small businesses and non-profits are reminded that the deadline for CARES Act assistance to boost your bottom line is October 21.
Small business for purposes of this program is defined as 50 and fewer employees. The County Board designated $1.4 million from its CARES allotment for assisting local small business.
Chisago County HRA/EDA Director Nancy Hoffman said in Phase One of applications, which was dedicated to businesses forced to shutdown in the early days of restrictions, she saw mostly hair salons and restaurants and similar types of enterprises applying. Now, in Phase Three small manufacturers and a wider variety of business categories are showing interest.
Phase Two earmarked $1 million for Chisago County non-profits. Hoffman said there are 19 applications in process submitted by non-profit organizations.
Both initial phases were meant to allocate a maximum single grant of $10,000.
In Phase Three now, the maximum grant is $5,000.
There has been good interest shown since the Phase One CARES Act funds were freed-up through state government from federal coffers.
The county got over $6 million and area cities and towns are generally distributing about a third of their appropriations in partnership with the county, as well. There is money remaining.
Hoffman said there are 47 applicants total who are approved for distribution letters and cleared as eligible for the funds. There are 35 “in the queue” or being reviewed. Six applicants were eliminated for having been awarded Minnesota Small Business Relief Fund grants already, and ineligible.
HRA/EDA office associate Sara Peterson said most of the applicants’ fiscal situation is fairly apparent in meeting conditions to get the aid. It isn’t super complicated to qualify. The office has to be sharp on the applications though, because any mistaken grant awards could end up becoming a local liability. Audits will be done on standards used for government distributions.
Money that is not claimed and awarded gets sent back to St. Paul, so the HRA/EDA motto is to do whatever it takes to help applicants get some financial relief. Chisago County wants to utilize its grants.
“We do what we can to help them get the funds within reason,” said Hoffman. The HRA/EDA wants any businessperson who suffered covid-19 related losses and needs assistance to pay some bills (not payroll) to inquire about the program. See the website at www.chisagocounty.org for the form and preferably apply on-line. A mass mailing also went out early this week in an effort to spread the word.