Emergency Business Assistance Program ends with funds exhausted

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But other City, federal help available
 
COVINGTON, Ky. – One of the City of Covington’s grant programs set up to help businesses survive financially during the pandemic has come to end with the last funds allocated.
 
The $625,000 Emergency Business Assistance Program was funded with federal CARES Act money funneled through the City and $250,000 from the Kenton County Fiscal Court. But with Congress declining to include local governments in the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package approved several weeks ago, the City’s grant program could not be renewed.
 
The City unveiled the program Sept. 30 using a widely publicized communications campaign that called for applications. On Dec. 23, it announced that the first 13 applications received had been awarded funds and that the next handful of applications in line were being evaluated.
 
(The “grants” are actually a reimbursement of expenses, which have to meet federal guidelines. Businesses could make requests of up to $50,000.)
 
“We reviewed the applications in the order in which we received them and funded all those whose expenses qualified for reimbursement according to the guidelines,” said Suzann Gettys, the City’s Business Retention and & Expansion Specialist who was project manager of the program. “It was a pretty clear-cut process; unfortunately, at some point the funds were simply exhausted.”
 
The City is not accepting more applications but will hold on to any it received and could not fund, just in case Congress or the new administration frees up more money.
 
“But we’re not holding our breath,” Mayor Joe Meyer said. “Covington joined local governments across the state and across the nation in strongly urging Congress to help us help our small businesses, but our lobbying fell on deaf ears and local governments have been snubbed to date.”
 
In addition to the 13 businesses previously announced, the City was able to make these “awards” before the funds ran out:
  • Anchor Grill, $50,000.
  • Riverside Korean Restaurant, $50,000.
  • Zapata Cantina, $41,500. 
City Economic Development officials urged businesses to look into other assistance programs that are available.
 
Other opportunities
  • The City still has funds available in a separate program it created in late March 2020 to help businesses make rent and mortgage payments. In late May it expanded the parameters of the program to help so-called “legacy” businesses that have neither rent nor mortgages. So far, the City has awarded 43 businesses a total of $81,452 through that program, but even with several applications in the pipeline, the program still has well over $100,000. See HERE
  • The City also runs a quarterly Small Business Program that offers grants for first-year rent for new businesses and forgivable loans for exterior improvements. The deadline for the next round is Jan. 29. See HERE
  • The City also encourages businesses to reach out to the Covington office of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center to inquire about the newest round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The Center is available at (859) 993-7773 or Lisa.brann@uky.edu with information available online at https://www.ksbdc.org/covington
  • Renaissance Covington this week publicized the national “At Your Side” Small Business Grant Program that offers grants of $5,000 to $10,000 on a competitive basis. Applications will open Jan. 21. See HERE or HERE.
 
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