In a move that will make it easier for local businesses to qualify for COVID-19 relief dollars, the City Council has approved changes to its COVID grant requirements.
On May 14, the St. Cloud City Council adopted the Economic Recovery and Stimulus Plan to help create economic development and to assist businesses with recovery, continuity and longevity during COVID-19.
The first of the two funding programs is the small business grant program, which is designed to offset operational costs for for-profit business continuity and may be used for working capital. Eligible businesses can receive up to $10,000 in funding. The other is the nonprofit grant program, which is intended to offset operational costs, and eligible organizations can receive up to $5,000 in funding.
To date, 17 companies have received grants totaling $49,000. Andre Anderson, community development director for the city, told council members that many of the 59 who applied were ineligible due to having also received CARES Act funding.
“We request that you remove the restriction and allow those individuals that were automatically denied, to be able to reapply,” Anderson said during the Sept. 24 Council meeting. “They would still have to demonstrate that they are not duplicating the use of those funds. If they received PPP (payroll protection plan) funding for payroll, for example for February through April, they couldn’t use the City money for that same timeframe. They’d have to use it for a different timeframe or a different purpose.”
Anderson noted 25 of the applicants that were denied didn’t meet other grant criteria, such as being in the city limits and having been in business for three years or more. He also noted that some had been denied for being non-responsive.
Councilman Dave Askew asked for clarification about those who had previously applied. Anderson explained that any business that was denied is welcome to reapply, but they must reapply, and it doesn’t automatically mean they will get funded.
“As long as everyone understands that, it’s fantastic,” Askew said. “If you applied before, apply again. Keep it simple.”