31 small businesses receive more CARES aid

LISBON — County commissioners used the $146,844 in returned COVID-19 aid to help 31 more local small businesses.

The money was among $587,537 in unspent federal CARES Act money, with $146,844 going to commissioners. The rest was distributed based on population to the 11 townships and nine cities and villages that either spent all of its CARES allocation or declined to accept any funding in the first place.

Commissioners on Wednesday voted to use its additional allocation to award more grants to the following local small businesses and community organizations:

Willows by Wehr, $2,500.

Headlines by Andy, $10,000

County Agricultural Society, $5,000

BPOE Lodge 258, $5,000

Stage Left Players, $9,000

Columbiana Chamber of Commerce, $5,000

Piranha Aquatics, $2,500

Valley Golf Club, $2,500

Small Batch/Lib’s Market, $5,000

Tri-Ohio Realty, $5,000

Thoroughbred Energy, $4,000

Excel Physical Therapy, $5,000

Huffman & Sons, $4,000

JNV Construction, $4,000

Precision Mold & Die, $10,000

Larry Dailey Construction, $4,000

Great Lakes & Waste, $4,000

Stevenson Manufacturing, $10,000

B & S Terrain Contracting, $4,000

Salem Digital Cinema, $10,000

Kaiser Towing, $4,000

Turtle Beach Tanning, $1,000

The Image Works Photo, $2,500

Delta Manufacturing/Twister Display, $2,500

Lucky 7 Studios, $7,000

Bermuda Tanning, $1,000

V- Nails, $1,000

Bill Ramsey General Contracting, $2,500

Wild Duck Hollow Farm, $2,500

Brave Industries LLC, $2,500

Yuhanick Cleaners, $9,000

The county received a combined $11.8 million in CARES money, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was passed in April by Congress to help federal, state and local governments, businesses and individuals impacted by the fallout from COVID-19.

Of the $11.8 million, commissioners received half, with the rest going to cities, villages and township based on population. The money had to be approved for a specific use by Nov. 20 or returned to the county treasurer for redistribution. All of the earmarked CARES money has to be spent by Dec. 31.

Commissioners decided to use $550,000 from its allocation to fund the Small Business Relief Grant program to help local businesses and community organizations hit hard by COVID-19 and the government’s response to the pandemic. Commissioners received a combined $680,000 in applications, and they ended up funding 72 applications totaling $501,000.

About two weeks before the Nov. 20 deadline, commissioners shifted gears and used $1.46 million on a project to bring reliable wireless broadband service to underserved areas, which represented the last of its CARES money. To come up with the $1.46 million, commissioners had to take some of the CARES money that had been promised to small businesses.

Commissioner Mike Halleck said Wednesday the returned unspent CARES money allows them to honor their commitment to some, but not all, of the small businesses and community organizations that were told their application would be funded. He defended the decision, saying significant portions of the county lack reliable wireless broadband service, which is more important than ever as in-school classes are canceled and students forced to learn online from home.

“We are helping the young people who have to learn from home, so we moved a lot of money that was for small business grants … And everyone, I think, would agree that is the right thing to do,” he said.

There is talk of Congress making additional COVID-19 aid available in 2021. “It could happen, and if there’s additional funds we’ll go back and review those (business grant applications) again to see if we can help those out who were shortchanged,” Halleck said.


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