More in City Hall:
By Mike Hazlip—
Several dozen small businesses in Citrus Heights last month received a total of $277,611 in COVID relief grant money through a program administered by the city to help businesses recover losses related to the pandemic.
City Economic Development and Communications Manager Meghan Huber outlined the results of the program for the City Council during a May 12 meeting, with the primary criteria being a documented revenue loss exceeding 25% during the pandemic.
A total of 33 businesses received funding, with 20 of those receiving a $10,000 amount. Nine received a $2,000 grant and four businesses received $15,000, according to Huber. She said those results are consistent with the business landscape in Citrus Heights with most businesses having less than 10 employees.
The city had allocated $320,000 to go specifically towards small businesses in the city, out of $15.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds allotted by the federal government to Citrus Heights for COVID relief. The City Council previously directed $5.35 million to go towards filling 22 vacant positions in the Police Department, but has yet to determine where remaining funds will go.
Huber said staff developed a three-tier eligibility system for various sized businesses, with those having 2019 annual gross revenues between $1,000 and $100,000 being eligible to receive $2,000. Businesses with $100,000 to $1,000,000 in 2019 gross revenue could receive $10,000, and businesses that did above $1 million could receive $15,000. Those with revenues over $3 million were not eligible.
Interim Administrative Services Director Bill Zenoni said the city worked with some businesses to help them meet the eligibility requirements such as missing information or filing a business license.
Huber said the city received a total of 76 applications during the Feb. 24 to March 26 application period. Seven of those were duplicates, she said, and another 36 were not eligible, leaving a total of 33 businesses that received grants.
Payments were issued April 25, Huber said. Unexpended funds are available for future consideration, she said.
Most of the 36 ineligible businesses did not meet the 25% revenue loss threshold, according to the presentation. Four businesses were not eligible because they were home-based, another four were not operated in Citrus Heights, three had missing tax documents, one had no base year revenue, one was not a small business, and one had multiple locations.
Huber presented a letter from Ben Combs, owner of Judi’s Cleaners Inc., thanking the city for the grant funds.
“[T]hank you so much, way over the top,” Combs wrote. “My relocation from the county has been a real boon to our business and in so many ways we feel like we moved to ‘Small Town USA’.”
Vice Mayor Tim Schaefer congratulated Huber and city staff for their efforts to target Citrus Heights businesses that needed the funds the most.
“[I]t really showed me that that it really covered the bases, meaning we really hit the people that we were trying to help,” Schaefer said. “We were really trying to get to the right people and I think that the way the program was structured was well done.”
Mayor Porsche Middleton echoed Schaefer’s comments saying the city wants businesses to succeed.
“We want the businesses to recover in our community,” Middleton said noting how quickly the program was implemented. “I know that it was a push and as a council I know we appreciate you doing that work and making sure all those factors are met, especially my hard line of multiple languages, as many as you can get.”
The council is slated to continue discussion about how to allocate remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding during its May 26 council meeting. The first half of the funds were received last spring, and the second half of the funds are expected to be received this month.
Thanks for reading The Sentinel. You are either trying to access subscribers-only content or you have reached your limit of 5 free articles per 30 days. Click here to sign in or subscribe.