City expands grant program
Last updated 8/19/2020 at 5:09pm
The city of Fountain is expanding its grant program for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The City Council voted last week to allow more types of businesses to apply for the grant, which could provide up to $15,000 to each entity.
Nonprofits could receive up to $5,000. Certain home-based businesses – excluding direct or network marketing operations -- as well as mobile or trailer operations such as food trucks or pet grooming could be eligible for $2,000 per employee or $8,000 total.
Commercial landlords may apply if they've lost revenue due to nonpayment of rent or other factors directly tied to the pandemic, up to $3,000 per tenant or $15,000 per landlord.
Those who rent booth space, such as hairdressers, also may be eligible.
City Manager Scott Trainor said the city is running out of time to disperse these funds, which are part of the city's allotment of federal relief funds under the CARES Act. Fountain received $2.4 million of El Paso County's share, and officials opted to put $1.4 million of that in the grant fund for businesses with 20 or fewer employees that were negatively impacted by COVID.
Initially, the grants were awarded 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.
However, only $311,000 of that fund has been awarded so far, and the September deadline for awards is quickly approaching. City officials say they have exhausted efforts to notify businesses about the grant and wish more would take advantage of the offer. They emphasized that this is a grant, not a loan to be repaid.
The city has through December to spend all of its CARES funds.
The application for the grant is available on the city's website, http://www.fountaincolorado.org, under "Business Impact Assistance Program Application" a large blue icon near the top of the page.
El Paso County has just announced a similar grant program providing up to $20,000 per business. Details of that are on p. 15 in this week's issue. Businesses may apply for both city and county grants, as long as funds received are not allocated for the same expenses.
In other business, the council appointed a new member to the Planning Commission. Taylor LeBlanc will serve a four-year term expiring April 2023. Former member Ben Ward resigned in July.
The council also appointed two new members of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board: Patricia Heath (term expiring March 2023) and Heather Wilmoth (term expiring May 2023). Shane Kinkennon was appointed as an alternate.
The council also made a few updates to its Strategic Plan and authorized the purchase of a fire engine to replace one from 1999 with 136,000 miles on it. In addition, it was voted to convert a per-diem firefighter position, which often ends up in overtime pay, to a regular part-time position.
Council Member Tamara Estes announced that City Hall, along with other public buildings nationwide, would be lit up in purple and gold on Aug. 26 – Women's Equality Day – to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States. The anniversary of the 19th Amendment - giving women the right to vote - was Aug. 18.