LIMA — Allen County Commissioners approved the launch of a new county program Thursday morning meant to distribute $200,000 in CARES Act dollars to small businesses that have not been able to access PPP loans in the past.
Known as the Allen County Small Business Grant Program, the new funding initiative makes $5,000 available to businesses with less than 30 employees that are looking for financial help to recoup losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic during the months of March through May.
“We need to use all the money that was initially provided for us, or the excess goes back to the federal government,” Allen County Auditor Rachael Gilroy said. “It’s in the county’s best interest to use the funds.”
In total, the county received $1.18 million in federal dollars for its use as part of the CARES Act’s passage. Gilroy said the county has been primarily using those dollars to help fund some of the teleconferencing upgrades necessary to adequately shift its employees to better work from home.
A total of $30,000 each have also been provided to Apollo Career Center and the Allen County Educational Service Center to purchase laptops for teachers. Another portion has gone to the Allen County Fair to offset the costs of implementing social distancing guidelines and disinfecting commonly used areas, such as bathrooms.
As for the county’s small business grant program, eligibility for business applicants will be reviewed by Gilroy, County Commissioner Beth Seibert and Ohio Means Jobs Director Joe Patton after the application period is over at the end of Aug. 28. Expenses allowed under the CARES Act include: mortgage costs, rent or lease costs, utility expenses, salaries, supplies and materials related to business interruption, personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 related-expenses.
Businesses eligible for the grant program must prove that they have less than 30 employees, make less than $1 million in sales and have suffered at least a 25% reduction in business in comparison to the same time in 2019.
Gilroy said she’s not sure how many Allen County businesses will qualify for the program, but she’s hoping that those that do are able to make use of it.
Upon receiving the funds, businesses will have up until Sept. 30 to use the dollars. Proof of spending will also be required as the county expects a government audit of CARES Act funds after their utilization.
“Hopefully, we can get the money out there to be used,” Gilroy said.
The application form and more details for the program can be found at http://www.allencountyohauditor.com/ or at limaohio.com.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.