Florence Town Council is authorizing the creation of the Returning Stronger Grant Program with up to $10,000 each available for local businesses. Funding is on a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum amount of $500,000 is reached.
Local businesses that had expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic can submit an application at florenceaz.gov/rsgrant and supporting documentation by Oct. 31, 2020 to the town for reimbursement.
“The application outlines the eligibility criteria that has been discussed over the past few months and ... provides the means whereby our general public, our business community, our food banks and home-based businesses can apply for some economic relief coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Benjamin Bitter, intergovernmental and communications manager, said to the council at a meeting Sept. 8.
The program is a culmination of months of discussion by the council, local businesses, residents and the chamber of commerce.
“I sincerely want to say ‘thank you’ for the communication, the transparency and continued effort trying to make it easier, especially on our business community to survive,” Florence Mayor Tara Walter said prior to the vote on the program.
Councilmember Karen Wall likes that the $500,000 available can be increased at a later date if needed.
“I think you did a great job incorporating the comments that were received. I especially like the idea that we can reconsider increasing the cap that we discussed in the event that it appears important to do so,” she said prior to the vote.
Items that are eligible for reimbursement for brick-and-mortar, commercially-zoned businesses include up to six months of rent, mortgage and utility payments — for water, sewer and electricity. The businesses can also be reimbursed for any personal protective equipment or physical modifications that assisted in protecting public health, according to a release.
The grant program also includes up to $10,000 for home-based businesses and local nonprofits to reimburse for expenses related to the purchase of personal protective equipment or for any physical modifications necessary to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Home-based businesses and local nonprofits are not eligible for reimbursements for rent, mortgage or utility costs during the pandemic, according to the release.
The final aspect of the program reimburses local food banks that contributed to the well-being of the community during the pandemic. Each food bank is eligible for up to $10,000. Applicants must submit receipts justifying the amount of grant funding that they are requesting.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com.