Small business owners are so close to receiving resiliency grant money, they can almost taste it. Or at the very least, spend it.
At the Rosenberg City Council meeting Tuesday, council members will consider funding the $250,000 program through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.
This proposal is two months in the making.
The resiliency grant program was initially brought to the Rosenberg Development Corp. in April, but board members voted 4-2 to turn down the creation of the grant program to assist small, locally owned businesses within the city limits.
Despite being defunded by the RDC, council approved the program without having a source of funding.
And that is where the CARES Act comes in.
The city of Rosenberg has received $2.1 million of the $134 million in federal CARES Act funds allocated to Fort Bend County.
Payments from the $2.1 million fund may only be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.
The program will provide immediate cash grants to local business owners or locally-owned franchise owners who meet certain criteria for assistance with payroll and storefront lease payments.
The grant award would range from $1,000 to $6,000 per eligible business and would be determined by the number of people employed.
Council member Steven DeGregorio said small businesses account for 44% of economic activity in Rosenberg.
According to city staff, there are approximately 1,400 businesses in Rosenberg. Upwards of 70 businesses could see relief through this program.
Other allowable expenses for the CARES Act include:
- Medical expenses related to COVID-19, including temporary medical facilities, testing, medical response and telemedicine capabilities;
- Public Health expenses such as communication and enforcement of public health orders, acquisition and distribution of medical and protective supplies, disinfection of public areas and facilities, mitigation of COVID-19 related threats, public safety measures and quarantining individuals;
- Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, human services and other employees whose services are dedicated to mitigating and responding to the public health emergency;
- Expenses to facilitate compliance with public health measures such as food delivery, distance learning, telework capabilities for public employees, paid sick and family leave to public employees, facilities renovation and sanitizing; and
- Expenses associated with the provision of economic support including grants to small businesses.
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 2110 Fourth St.
Citizens will be allowed to attend council meetings, but must first be screened for symptoms associated with COVID-19, including a temperature check; and must wear a protective mask while in Rosenberg City Hall.