February 29, 2024

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Commissioners, Economic Development create coronavirus small business grant

SCIOTO — The Scioto County Commissioners announced additional funding for local businesses through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act during its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 29.

As a population of greater than 28,000, the county is eligible to receive direct payment through the CARES Act. In total, $250,000 of the $887,262 will be made available to these businesses, who can receive up to a $10,000 grant.

“I think this would be a major win for our small businesses in our community,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis. “We have several small businesses hanging on by a thread right now and this should help them.”

Interested businesses are told to report to a committee comprising of Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton, County Auditor David Green, and one of the commissioners, who will review qualifications and ultimately decide where that money goes.

Davis said the $250,000, which others might claim as unsubstantial, will still go a long way for struggling businesses. This amount is the best offer at the moment, he feels, as considerable costs have been absorbed the county and gone to other departments already.

“The value of our small businesses, the importance of keeping our small businesses alive, especially in a rural community such as Portsmouth, it’s critical to maintain employment and maintain our way of life,” said Davis, citing evidence regarding of small businesses’ prominence in the country.

Lease or mortgage assistance, operational costs, and unforseen expenses are listed as eligible expenses. Horton said this money will especially assist businesses that have increased operating costs, due to purchasing more sanitation equipment, while seeing revenues at the same time remaining steady or declining.

“That’s a tremendous expense for small restaurants,” said Horton of the necessary cleaning measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Davis said ineligible businesses- nonprofits, places of worship, tobacco, vaping, tattoo parlors, sexually-oriented and alcohol stores- were determined in respect to federal guidelines.

Already available in New Boston and Portsmouth, Davis said businesses will not be able to apply for more than one grant. The Village of New Boston set aside $50,000 for households and businesses, $1,000 available for each, while the Portsmouth City Managers announced on Sept. 14 that small businesses would be eligible for a maximum of $10,000 through the city’s $600,000 program.

Applications will be received until Saturday, Oct. 31, but Davis and Horton stressed that the funding is on a first come, first-serve basis. Opportunity exists for the program to expand, said Davis, but that would only be available following more conversations.

“I’m excited. I think is very, very important what we’re doing here for our businesses,” said Horton. “This is going to be opportunity for our downtown businesses, small businesses in our townships that just can’t meet that right criteria. This is going to be their catalyst to try to keep their doors open.”

Applicants are asked to apply in person at the Scioto County Economic Development Office on 502 Court Street in Portsmouth.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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