Pine County is moving ahead with its plan to distribute over $3.6m in federal CARES Act funds to area businesses, nonprofits, food shelves and individuals in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown.
The county set aside $1.8m to deliver to local businesses in two stages. The first stage of that process is now being wrapped up. Pine County Administrator David Minke said a total of 43 grants were submitted with a total request of $333,889.64.
Minke said that the Initiative Foundation is helping to complete the documentation review and verification for the grants, and anticipates cutting checks for these businesses in early September.
Businesses were allowed to submit requests up to $10,000. Funds could be used to reimburse documented expenditures related to the pandemic and to provide up to three months’ mortgage or lease payments. The county had anticipated delivering up to $500,000 to businesses in this first stage of the process, so this means more funds remain for the second stage.
At the Aug. 18 meeting of the Pine County Board of Commissioners, Minke noted that the program is limited to small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, and that the county does not have a program for businesses with greater than 50 employees – though there are state and federal programs available to support those businesses.
Non-profits, next steps
Minke said that the county will now focus on taking grant applications from non-profit organizations.
“The non-profit program will be open within the next two weeks,” Minke said. “The process will be similar to the business assistance program with grants limited to $5,000 per nonprofit.”
He said that county plans to finalize that program, roll it out, then move to the second round of the business assistance grants.
The CARES Act funds must be spent or they will be returned. Unspent township and city CARES Act funds will roll to the county in November, and the unspent county funds will roll back to the state in December.