County, CRG seek COVID grant

JOHNSTOWN — Local businesses may be able to access Lost Revenue Grants because of the COVID-19 pandemic if Fulton County and the CRG are successful in an overall $500,000 state application.

The application was brought to the attention of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee Wednesday at the County Office Building.

County Planning Director Scott Henze requested and received committee approval for a proposed resolution authorizing a 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) application to the state Office of Community Renewal. It is under the CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The full board will vote June 14 on the resolution.

Under this program, Henze said there has to be some outlay by the businesses affected by COVID.

“Each of the individual businesses have to have up to a 10 percent match,” he said.

The idea is to provide small grants for businesses impacted by COVID, and see if they can get back on their feet financially, he said.

“Those are dollars they can try to recapture as part of this particular funding,” Henze stated.

Henze said that New York state recently announced the applications for funding by the counties. He said the state Office of Community Renewal has earmarked $1 million in CDGB funding to counties in an effort to help communities throughout the state safely reopen and restart their local economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the maximum funding available was capped at $1 million for counties.

For businesses up to 25 employees, the maximum funding they can receive is up to $85,000.

In addition to the minimum 10 percent match, each individual business funding request must provide all documentation as to how the business was negatively affected due to Coronavirus. Businesses must show a stop in revenue compared to previous years, or receipts of products purchased as safety measures such as cleaning products, barrier screens and PPE.

Henze said the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is administering the grant on behalf of Fulton County. The CRG is recommending a $500,000 grant application be submitted to the state.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said many small businesses had the greatest problems due to COVID. He said businesses will have to demonstrate how they “weathered the storm” in 2020 and beyond.

Henze said that similar to the CDBG Microenterprise Grant Program, a public hearing is required to be held prior to submission of the grant application.

It was recommended a dual-purpose public hearing be held for both the closeout of the 2018 CDBG Microenterprise Grant and submission of an application for CDBG-CV funding.

By Paul Wager