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Pagosa Springs
Sunday, August 14, 2022

Town announces new coronavirus relief program for businesses

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce

Many Pagosa businesses have had a good financial summer with tourism numbers hitting record highs. Much of this influx of capital went just to help recover from the months of slow or no business. However, winter months are rapidly creeping up on our community as we have seen with the first blast of early snow. 

Winter months are again bringing anxiety upon our business community with unknowns of new state guidelines, distancing and business constraints brought on by weather. Many businesses will need to look at their facility and determine if any changes are needed to accommodate clients during the winter months. These changes include waiting areas, seating areas, signage, remote technology, tents, extra safety precautions such as barriers, and sanitizing protocols. 

The Town of Pagosa Springs will be offering reimbursement funds up to $7,500 to businesses that have had to or will need to modify their business systems to stay in business. Businesses do not need to be within the boundaries of the town. However, if located in the town limits, they do need to have a current business license. This reimbursement offer is applicable to for-profit businesses and includes 501(c)(6) and 501(c)(3) (nonprofit status) organizations. If a nonprofit organization had to cancel an event and supplies or marketing was conducted, some of these expenses may be reimbursable. Lost event revenue, however, is not reimbursable. Important to note: these requests may not duplicate funding already received from other sources such as PPP, EIDL or grant programs. 

The deadline to submit your application is Nov. 30. Remember, this is a reimbursable program, so businesses will need to submit receipts or proof of documentation and detailed information demonstrating the need for the new protocol. The town requests that businesses also “bundle” their requests into one request or application if possible. 

The funds from this program come from state CARES relief funding; therefore, the town will be making their requests to the state approximately once per month. Depending on requests, this timing may vary, but expect a monthly turn-around reimbursement time frame. 

The town does not also guarantee reimbursement or preapproval of the funds. To increase your chances of reimbursement, be clear in your request for the need to enhance or receive reimbursement for a new system, hard goods or staffing. Applications and guidelines may be found at www.pagosasprings.co.gov under the Pagosa Springs Coronavirus Relief Fund Program link. Applications may be turned in at Town Hall or emailed to the town clerk/Finance Department at ahessman@pagosasprings.co.gov. 

Going hand in hand, businesses should start preparing for any changes in their seating or waiting areas by submitting variance plans to the Town of Pagosa Springs. Don’t wait until November when the snow is already flying and you are trying to figure out how to accommodate your patrons. The town will need to approve all variances, so start working on those plans now and include those costs in this reimbursement program. 

Sen. Bennet offers office time to residents

Sen. Michael Bennet’s office will now be offering office time to Archuleta County residents on Thursdays beginning Sept. 24. Meetings will be with Janet Wolf, who is the southwest regional constituent advocate.

 If you have a question or concern about any federal issue such as Veterans Affairs, the IRS or Social Security administrations or another agency, you are encouraged to contact Wolf and schedule an appointment. Wolf can be reached at janet_wolf@bennet.senate.gov or 259-1710. Please include your name, address, phone number and issue you would like to discuss, as well as if you are already working with someone in Bennet’s office. 

Please take advantage of these one-on-one conversations if you need assistance.

Important reminders

Businesses are encouraged to apply for grant and/or loan funds through the new Energize Colorado assistance program. Applicants can request up to $15,000 in grant funds and up to $20,000 in loan funds. The interest rate terms on the loan funds are some of the best out there. When applying for funds, you can partner with either Region 9 or the 1st Southwest Community Fund. Applications will be scored based on need, minority-owned business and prior funding. 

Just because you received funds previously does not exempt you from requesting funds again. However, it must be for new expenses or programs that were not covered from March to the current period. Applicants can find more information at energizecolorado.com/gap-fund/.

There is still a little time left to complete your 2020 census. As of submission of this article, Archuleta County is inching closer to the 2010 response rate of 42.7 percent. We are currently at a self-response rate of 41.9 percent. Come on, Archuleta County, we need your help. Every person counted has an impact on the financial assistance that we receive as a county and through nonprofit organizations and the demographics that many of our organizations rely on to help their constituents. You can go to www.2020census.gov to respond or visit a location such as the library to have someone help you to the website. Enumerators are also out and about in the area. If you would like an enumerator to visit your home, contact the Chamber at 264-2360 and we will pass on the information. It’s not too late to be counted, Archuleta County. You have only until the end of September.

Bag up your gently used winter coats and sweaters and donate them to the annual St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church winter clothing drive. Coats, sweaters, boots, shirts and pants will all be accepted. Housewares and summer clothes will not be accepted. Donations may be taken to St. Patrick’s Church at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., from Sept. 19 through Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. The clothing drive will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the St. Patrick’s parking lot. If collection hours are not conducive to your schedule, please call the church office at 731-5801 to make alternative arrangements.

The Chamber still has beautiful masks to give out to businesses. These masks were sewn by local residents. They are colorful and easy to wear. Call our office and reserve your masks. The Chamber staff can then either deliver the masks or you can stop by and pick them up. 

Remember that the Chamber offices are now open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. to accommodate our reduced staffing. We encourage you to visit us at our offices or call us at 264-2360. If we are not there, please leave a message.

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