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.