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City Of Sulphur Springs Establishes Small Business Assistance Program In Response To COVID-19

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Applications Available Online And Will Be Accepted Beginning At 8 a.m. July 8

Sulphur Springs City Council Tuesday night authorized the establishment of a small business assistance program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying small Sulphur Springs businesses can download the application starting Tuesday evening from the COVID-19 Business Resources menu on the City of Sulphur Springs’ website to seek up to $2,500 in financial assistance so long as funding lasts.

This program is made possible by the CARES Act-Coronavirus Relief Fund, passed through to the City from the State of Texas.The City is eligible for up to $890,945 in funds; 75 percent of that must be reimbursable expenditures related to public health, medical expenses, or payroll expenses and 25 percent of expenditures may be used to provide economic support.

The City of Sulphur Springs has to submit documentation requesting the funding. The city plans to submit at least $660,000 in public safety payroll and public health expenses for reimbursement. Once approved, the City then plans to disburse the $220,000 as an economic development program “for making grants of public money to promote local economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity in the city,” Resolution 1199 states. The City would establish a stimulus program to provide limited financial assistance, up to $2,500 each, to small businesses physically located within the city limits.

“We’ve been trying hard, searching for guidance to figure out a way to provide assistance to our small businesses. They were hurt pretty bad and are still hurting bad,” said Sulphur Springs Finance Director Lesa Smith.

“We want to pass this to small businesses who need extra help. We want to be there for them if we can,” Mayor John Sellers said. “Please businesses apply for this so we can help you at least in this small way.”

City officials estimate 200-250 businesses should be eligible to apply for the small business grant funding, but will be able to fund only the first qualified 88 who turn in applications.

Prior to receiving assistance, each business must demonstrate the need for the funds as established in the “Small Business Assistance Program Policy and Application.” Funds may be used to cover economic damages suffered as a direct result of COVID-19, including business lease or mortgage payments, utility payments (excluding City of Sulphur Springs utilities), payroll for employees still employed and working at the business, and other business needs.

Qualified businesses will be selected and funds allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 88 qualified businesses that apply so long as funds are available. Applications will be accepted in person at the water payment office on Davis Street starting at 8 a.m. July 8 and each will be time stamped as it is brought in.

Eligibility requirements for the City of Sulphur Springs’ small business assistance program.

Home based, non-profit and publicly traded companies are ineligible to apply for funding. The stipulation for “commercially zoned or classified,” the structure has to be a “real brick and mortar” building within the city limits city.

A 4-person small business assistance program committee made up of the City Manager Marc Maxwell, Finance Director Lesa Smith, Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski and City Council member Doug Moore will review and approve applications for the program. 

Approved businesses should note that disbursement of funds be issued after the City receives notification of reimbursement from Texas Department of Emergency Management for other COVID related expenses.

The seats at Sulphur Springs City Hall were empty Tuesday evening as the regular meeting was conducted via Zoom and streamed on YouTube for the public to view.
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Author: Faith Huffman

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