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Fountain to grant $1.4 million to businesses hit by COVID-19


Last updated 6/8/2020 at 4:13pm

By Karin Hill

Fountain will receive $2.4 million of El Paso County’s share of the federal relief funds related to COVID-19, and city leaders plan to give $1.4 million of that back to local businesses in the form of micro-grants.

On May 26 the City Council voted to approve a COVID-19 Business Impact Assistance Program that could provide Fountain businesses up to $15,000, depending on certain criteria.

“Obviously we have a lot of businesses, and we want to be able to spread that out as much as we can,” City Manager Scott Trainor said.

The grants will be distributed as long as funds are available, with priority given to those who didn’t have the option to work from home; those whose owners are Fountain residents; non-franchise businesses; etc.

Other businesses and franchises operating in Fountain may qualify but would have lower priority, Trainor said.

Businesses are be eligible for the grants if they had 20 or fewer employees on March 10 (the date of the governor’s disaster declaration). The program caps distributions at $3,000 per employee with a maximum of $15,000 per business.

According to the proposal, “the program is open to small businesses and restaurants with a brick-and-mortar presence within the city’s boundaries, including locally-owned franchises, that can document negative financial impacts resulting from COVID-19 such as increased costs, reduced revenues, reduced operating hours, employee layoffs/furloughs/pay cuts, etc. Home-based businesses are not eligible for the program.”

Officials said applications for the grants are available online now at

The county was allocated $125.7 million in CARES funds. County commissioners agreed to keep 55 percent for county expenses and distribute 45 percent to municipalities within the county (see chart for breakdown).

“We sincerely appreciate the County’s strong support to our community and businesses, for these funds are critical to helping our recovery here in Fountain,” said Mayor Gabe Ortega.

Counties and cities are limited in how they may spend their CARES funds. Expenditures are restricted to specific coronavirus-related items, such as sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees, extra shifts for first responders, or other unusual expenses that were required to maintain operations during the pandemic. They cannot be used to offset lost revenues or simply be pocketed. They should be used for expenses that were not included in the most recent budget as of March 27, and they may go toward expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.

In other business, the council voted to renew the city’s emergency declaration that opens up resources while dealing with the “disruption, economic and emergency costs” related to the coronavirus. The initial declaration was made March 17 and was good for 60 days. This renewal is retroactive to May 17 and “shall be in effect for until such time as El Paso County and the State of Colorado discontinue their emergency declarations, or until such time as the council determines the declaration is no longer necessary.”

In related business, the council held a special session on Monday where members voted to allow the city manager or his designee to provide swift, temporary permits to businesses attempting to reopen after the shutdown. Liquor licenses and planning permits for restaurants needing to reconfigure their physical space to comply with new social distancing guidelines are included in the resolution.


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