CARES funding to help qualifying small businesses has finally come through. The checks for $2,500 were being distributed Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 by the City of Sulphur Springs to 28 qualifying small businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
This City of Sulphur Springs COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program is made possible by the CARES Act-Coronavirus Relief Fund. The funding is passed through to the city from the state of Texas. The application process for the program was opened by the city in July, contingent on approval of Texas Department of Emergency Management. The city is to use a portion of the $890,945 in CARES funding to help eligible local businesses.
The City of Sulphur Springs had planned for up to 88 grants for Sulphur Springs small businesses that meet the established criteria. The city received 37 applications and was able to approve 28 small businesses in Sulphur Springs to receive $2,500 each. Nine of the applicants could not be approved by the Small Business Assistance Program Committee because they did not meet program requirements, according to the city finance director.
The checks were made out Monday, and approved applicants were notified Monday and Tuesday their $2,500 checks are available.
The businesses, as part of the program, are required to sign a 380 agreement which stipulates the small business must continue to be still be owned by the applicant and remain open for the next 90 days.
“We were glad to be able to do this with the CARES funding we were eligible for,” Sulphur Springs Finance Director Lesa Smith said. As long as they stay open for 90 days, I think they can do with the funds however they need to do to recover from the pandemic.”
The $890,945 in CARES funding the city is eligible for must be requires 75 percent to be reimbursable expenditures related to public health, medical expenses or payroll expenses; and 25 percent of expenditures may be used to provide economic support.
City staff also applied for and was approved for a $645,088 public safety reimbursement for police and fire department salary expenses for April and May related to COVID-19 and $22,795 for public health purposes such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. Another $31,900 in CARES funding was designated to Sulphur Springs school district as part of a technology funding match to help the school district purchase iPads and hotspots.
Potential use of the approximately $120,000 remaining in eligible CARES funding, within the scope allowed, will be up to to Sulphur Springs City Council. Sulphur Springs City Council is scheduled to meet next at 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020.