MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - A county grant program designed to help small businesses and community groups facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been well received, with applications still being accepted until Feb. 19, officials said.
“The uptake from community groups has been positive thus far with more submissions expected before the deadline,” said Jeff Holmes, the county's chief administrative officer.
“On the business side a limited number of responses have been received, but we believe that those businesses most negatively affected by the provincial restrictions have been proactive in getting their application forms in.”
Last month council approved a plan to allocated $412,157 in provincial Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) funding to community groups and local businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The county had previously allocated $886,702 in MOST funding, with the $412,157 being the remaining amount available to the county.
Council had instructed administration to refine the allocations to provide support to community groups and small businesses in the county.
Administration subsequently reached out to a number of businesses, community halls and community groups in an attempt to identify the impact the pandemic has had on their respective operations.
Council allocated a total of $230,000 specifically for small businesses operating in the municipality.
Allocations for small businesses depend on the category the operation falls under as outlined by the provincial chief medical officer of health order 42-2020.
Generally the categories are one of two types: whether the business has been ordered closed to the public (categories 1-5) or has been allowed to remain open under limited capacity or must schedule appointments (categories 6-8).
“We’ve determined that those businesses in categories 1 to 5 were likely the hardest hit from an economic point of view,” he said.
Businesses in categories 1 to 5 can apply for funding to the equivalent of a maximum of 100 per cent of their municipal portion of property taxes paid in 2020.
The category 6-8 businesses can apply for a maximum of $500.
The application process involves forms posted on the county’s website, the newspaper, and other means such as the newly released county app, he said.
“We are encouraging anyone that isn’t sure of their eligibility or in need of assistance submitting their application to contact Pam Thomas for community organizations or Stephen Novak for businesses for assistance at the county office,” he said.
If the program is over-subscribed the county will make pro-rated allocations, he said.
“It is too early to tell if we will be over-subscribed or not,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Feb. 19 deadline is firm, he noted.
“We are not able to push back the deadline date as we will need time to administer the grant program and to get money out to the successful applicants in accordance with the March 31 deadline,” he said.