Agency asks county to seek small-biz grant

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is asking Fulton County government to apply for a $200,000 state grant to help small businesses in the county.

The CRG would act as subrecipient and administer the program on behalf of the county.

The CRG and county last October announced a new partnership.

CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese approached the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee this week with a request to apply for the grant.

The application would seek $200,000 through the state Office of Community Renewal.

The committee authorized submittal of the application, but it would need approval by the full Board of Supervisors, which meets May 13.

Reese said the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council received $8 million of Community Development Block Grant funding in December.

“The regional council has been putting together its requests to allocate this $8 million across the region,” Reese said. “These are for small businesses.”

Reese said the council has approved a project for a proposed Fulton County Micro Enterprise Program, for which the grant funding is sought. Eligible applicants for CDBG funding are governments such as counties, cities, towns and villages.

The program will provide grants to small businesses with five or fewer full-time employees. Applicants can apply for up to $25,000 to assist with start-up expansion costs, with a requirement that one new full-time job be created for every $15,000 of assistance.

“Each of these companies would have this money to invest,” Reese said.

He said the state is under a U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development deadline to “dispense this money rather quickly.” He said if money is received, it could be distributed as early as this summer.

Reese said the Mohawk Valley Regional Council identified lack of available capital for small-business development as a regional concern. A second “critical issue” is young, educated people moving away from the Mohawk Valley region, he said.

He said CRG’s proposed Micro Enterprise Grant Program would address both issues, as well as job creation.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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