City of Smithville, Clay County EDC offer grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19

The city of Smithville and Clay County Economic Development Council are partnering together to offer small business relief grants to businesses in Smithville. Applications will be accepted from Wednesday, June 24 through July 10.

SMITHVILLE — Smithville’s Board of Aldermen, on Tuesday, June 23, unanimously approved to partner with the Clay County Economic Development Council to provide small business grants to local businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus.

The grant program will issue up to $100,000 in total grant funds to small businesses in Smithville, city documents state. Small businesses in the city can apply for a grant, funded by the CARES Act Stimulus Fund, of up to $5,000 to reimburse business expenses related to COVID-19.

With a little concern about who is eligible and who may not be, as outlined by the EDC, Mayor Damien Boley asked if people who have owned their businesses fewer than two years should still apply for grants.

“We have requirements in there (related to) tax returns,” Boley said. “Some of our newer businesses downtown, they’ve only been in operation for two years and may not have two years of returns.”

City Administrator Cynthia Wagner advised those business owners to not be discouraged.

“Clay County EDC has been pretty open about working with those on a case-by-case basis,” added Nickie Lee, assistant city administrator. “They will probably work with us, probably every application will have some kind of question or clarification so we will work very closely.”

Eligible businesses include those located within the city; businesses that have a valid 2019 business license; public-facing businesses directly impacted by stay-at-home orders such as retail, food service, arts and entertainment, hospitality, fitness, medical and personal services; and businesses or individuals whose primary revenue is generated from rental properties.

Those that do not qualify include national franchises, non-profit organizations and those with current liens by the city or fees owed to the city of Smithville.

Additionally, city documents state priority will go to those that have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; those with $2.5 million or less in annual revenue; and those that have not received certain Federal COVID-19 related relief (excluding Payroll Protection Program funds).

Grant funds can be used for expenses incurred from the beginning of March through June 2020. Expenses can include, but are not limited to, payroll, rent, mortgage interest, utilities, inventory replacement and COVID-19 supplies. Funds may also be used to purchase necessary protective equipment for employees and customers and for exterior or interior cleaning needed to keep facilities sanitized.

Grant funds cannot be used to pay back federal or state loan programs related to COVID-19 relief funding or any purposes outside of the federal guidelines which can be found at home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/state-and-local-governments.

Applications found at www.smithvillemo.org/newsview.aspx?nid=6112 will be accepted from June 24 through July 10 and it is anticipated by city staff that allocations will be approved at the July 21 board meeting.

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at sean.roberts@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6606.

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