Commissioners approve COVID-19 grant revisions

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 20, 2020

SALISBURY – Changes to the county’s COVID-19 Small Business Grant program will give people more time to return information and extend it to more businesses.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Saturday held a called meeting meeting, which lasted about 10 minutes, to approve the changes.

Awardee information previously had to be received by Dec. 11. Now, information must be received by Tuesday “to process checks.” The changes also removed an eligibility requirement that a business have no open judgements or tax liens.

The wording “If applicant fails to provide all required information for any reason, then the application will be disqualified” was removed.

Revisions added “up to” before a $350,000 limit on the total amount of funding to be dispersed as part of the program and changed the fee to be paid to McGill Associates to administer the grants. The fee was modified from 10% of the grant proceeds to a fee of $35,000.

The commissioners had no comments on the changes.

The commissioners initially approved the program in November, making the funding available to small businesses in a local attempt to offset some of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and help businesses survive.

Small businesses will be eligible for $3,500 to $5,000 depending on the size of the business. A business with 26 or more employees is not eligible for the grant.

Businesses must be for-profit. Franchises are only eligible if they are independent. locally owned and in existence since at least Dec. 31, 2019.

A business must either not be classified as essential under Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 121 or be a restaurant.

Nonprofits, businesses that have filed for bankruptcy in the last three years, that are delinquent on county taxes or deemed essential by the N.C. Department of Revenue are not eligible. An eligible business must still be operational and the funding must be used for “legitimate business expenses.”

The grant program is the result of several months of special meetings to allocate the funding according to federal guidelines.

The application period closed on Dec. 4.

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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