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Commissioners finalize rules for COVID-19 business grant program

SALISBURY — During a called meeting on Friday evening, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved final changes to their COVID-19 small business grant program.

The commissioners originally approved the grant program on Monday, establishing that $350,000 in funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis for eligible small businesses. 

Initially, they planned for the program to be administered by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, but after county staff met with the chamber this week, both parties agreed that another organization may be better equipped to facilitate the grant. As a result, commissioners on Friday approved an agreement for McGill Associates to distribute the small business grants. The Chamber of Commerce still had a role in collaborating with the county to help create some of the grant’s requirements.

McGill Associates is an engineering firm, but has expertise in grant administration, said County Manager Aaron Church. McGill will receive $35,000 to administer the program.

As originally planned, applications for the grant will be accepted online at rowancountync.gov/smallbusinessgrant and in person on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building starting at noon on Monday, Nov. 23. The application process will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4.

Businesses that have between one to 5 employees or are a sole proprietor will be eligible to receive $3,500. Businesses with six to 25 employees will be eligible to receive $5,000. Businesses with 26 or more employees are not eligible.

Checks will be issued no later than Dec. 30.

Changes to the grant program include:

An eligible company must have been in business on or before Dec. 31, 2019.

A business must still be operational and fall under one of two categories to be eligible for the grant:

• Not classified as a COVID-19 essential business as defined in Executive Order 121, Section 2. This means non-essential businesses. 

• Restaurants

The definition of “brick and mortar” location was defined. The new language states that a “business located on or associated with the primary residence parcel are excluded.”

The documentation that a business must provide to be eligible for the grant program has also been adjusted. To be eligible, a business must provide a W9 form and a 2019 tax return. A business must also provide proof of a license from the local, state or federal government required to perform their business. An example, Church said, is a tattoo artist or barber. A business must also provide its secretary of state identification number.

An applicant must also sign a form certifying that they will pay back the grant money if it is determined that the information provided is not true and correct.

McGill or a representative from the county will personally visit each business that submits complete application materials to ensure that the business is still in operation and meets the requirements.

For the full list of requirements, visit rowancountync.gov/smallbusinessgrant.

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