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KEARNEY — After receiving more applications for funds than the city originally allotted funding for, Kearney city leaders increased the amount available for small business grants for local businesses through its share of federal CARES Act funding it received.

The city originally allotted $100,000 to award businesses each upwards of $5,000 to offset financial impacts to small businesses due the coronavirus pandemic. The amount would have allowed for 20 businesses to receive a grant, but the city received 25 applications. As a result, Mayor Randy Pogue recommended the Board of Aldermen increase the amount the city would pay to $131,250 to provide each applicant with $5,000 and the Clay County Economic Development Council $6,250 for its assistance in handling grant requests.

Aldermen approved the increase unanimously.

“I think this is an amazing program,” said Alderman Gerri Spencer. “… It’s wonderful and I’m so glad so many of our local businesses are taking advantage of it.”

Grants can be used for expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest, inventory replacement, sanitation supplies, personal protective equipment for employees and interior or exterior facility cleaning. Qualifying expenses must have been incurred between March 1 and June 30. Priority was given to businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees and $2.5 million or less in annual revenue.

Grant recipients include Advantage Martial Arts, D’Creamery, Darrell’s Washington Street Style Shop, Gino’s Italian Cuisine, Studio 320 Dance, Stitch of the Time, Hand in Hand Day Care, Trash and Treasures, KPGZ 102.7FM, Oscar Nails, Hello Beautiful Hair Studio, Pure Water Delivery and Meyers Accounting, Stables Grill and Wild Fire Chiropractic.

Pogue said he appreciated the board’s support in increasing funding so that all applicants could be helped.

“That’s $125,000 that we’re instantly putting back into our local economy,” he said. “With all 25 applicants recommended funding, it’s apparent it was needed.”

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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