Mill Creek offers grants to small businesses, service organizations
CARES funding: $600,000 for Mill Creek businesses
Last updated 10/23/2020 at 9:39am
The City Council approved a plan to distribute CARES funding to Mill Creek businesses.
"The intent of the CARES Act is direct economic development for the businesses (that are) on the fence" due to the impact of COVID-19, said Jeff Balentine, finance director for the City.
Small businesses are invited to apply through the City. A consultant will be hired to help navigate the process, so that businesses can understand the requirements and allowable expenditures. Guidance from a consultant will help them assure that they are not accepting funds that will "get them in hot water," Balentine said.
Businesses must show a 25% loss in April. COVID-19 was announced as a worldwide pandemic on March 11, and the economic impact followed as restrictions and fears redirected where people were, physically, due to shelter-in-place requirements, and where they were willing and able to spend money. CARES funding is targeted at businesses with 50 or fewer employees, as of April 1.
CARES funding is federally managed, so marijuana businesses are excluded, as the laws of Washington state do not align with federal law on cannabis. Also excluded are businesses have not suffered a negative impact from COVID-19.
"This is not a profit center," Balentine said in a Council meeting. "To qualify for the CARES fund they have to have a negative economic impact."
The pool of funds available is $927,000, with $600,000 of that funding pointed at small business grants, $70,000 for service organizations providing direct for COVID-19, $90,000 is for sanitizing stations the City can gift within the community, and the remainder is planned for personal protective equipment (PPE), and a project to replace the carpeted flooring in the police department with a floor that is easier to sanitize.
Balentine said the City can spend CARES funding on “anything that’s for relief or to protect the public.”
"The application process will be fairly simple," Balentine told the Council on Oct. 13.
The City will post applications and other relevant contact information for businesses and service organizations to receive guidance, if they choose to be considered for a CARES grant. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/37hZhEu.
Look for more City news in the Oct. 16 print edition of the Mill Creek Beacon.