New Small Business Relief program applications available for local businesses

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    By Clayton Chaney
    Staff Writer

    The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) has applied for the state’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) new Small Business Relief Program. Applications for local businesses to receive funds from the grant have also been made available online on the county’s and Chamber of Commerce’s websites. 

    Although the county has yet to be approved for the funds, applications have already been made available due to the short turnaround period the county would have to distribute the funds. 

    According to Mary Helminski, paralegal for Archuleta County, the BoCC would have a minimum of 21 days to review applications and distribute awards to local businesses. 

    In an email to The SUN, Helminski noted that the BoCC may not hear back from DOLA until as late as Jan. 15, 2021. If approved for the funds, the BoCC will have until Feb. 12, 2021, to distribute funds to local businesses.

    Helminski noted that packets with information about the program and applications have been sent out to all of the county liquor license holders. 

    The information packet states, “This program was created to allocate money to eligible local governments to provide relief payments to capacity impacted small businesses operating within the geographical boundaries of those eligible local governments.” 

    In a previous work session held by the BoCC on Dec. 15, Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado Executive Director Laura Lewis Marchino explained that the funds would only be available for local businesses operating in counties that are in Level Red of the state’s COVID-19 dial. 

    At a special meeting held on Dec. 23 by the BoCC, Commissioner Ronnie Maez responded to a pubic question on whether the county had to be in Level Red in order to be eligible for the funding. 

    Maez stated that there were no restrictions on who is eligible for the funds. 

    In an interview, Marchino confirmed that funding from the program will only be available for businesses in counties that were in Level Red or Level Purple as of Dec. 10.

    According to the information packet sent out by Archuleta County, businesses that are eligible for the funds include restaurants, bars, caterers, movie theaters and fitness or recreational centers. 

    The packet also notes certain criteria that businesses must meet in order to be eligible for the funds. 

    This criteria includes that businesses must have at least one full-time employee, except for a sole proprietorship, and provide annual receipts of less than $2.5 million for the 2019 calendar year, or the business first opened between Jan. 1 and March 26. 

    In order to be approved for funds from the BoCC, a business must also be able to provide a Colorado income tax number, provide a receipt from the most recent payment of unemployment insurance payroll taxes, can demonstrate it is operating under severe capacity restrictions and provide intent to operate for at least the next six months.

    Other requirements for businesses to receive funding also include being able to provide evidence of at least 20 percent revenue loss since March 26 (except for businesses that opened between Jan. 1 and March 26), have a valid business license and must be in good standing with the agency that issued the business license.

    Additionally, businesses are not eligible if they have applied for relief funds from the Arts Relief Program or the Minority Owned Business Relief Program. 

    The packet also notes the amount the amount of funds a business can receive based off its sales and revenues from 2019. The award amounts are as follows:

    • Receipts less than $500,000 equal a $3,500 maximum payment.

    • Receipts greater than $500,000 but less than $1 million equal a $5,000 maximum payment.

    • Receipts greater than $1 million but less than $2.5 million equal a $7,000 maximum payment.

    The submission deadline for local businesses to apply for funds is Feb. 1, 2021. Applications must be submitted to Helminski at 398 Lewis St., PO Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO or via email to mhelminski@archuletacounty.org.