Loudoun County will receive more than $36 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act, helping cover the bills for county services during the emergency and offer some help for small businesses and nonprofits.
Just under $30 million will stay with the county government, with the rest to be disbursed to Loudoun towns. $18.6 million will go to help the county covers it expenses from the pandemic, such as $9.5 million to purchase personal protective equipment, $1.5 million for the costs associated with extensive teleworking among county employees, and $700,000 for cleaning and disinfecting county buildings.
$2 million of that will go to bolster Loudoun nonprofits. Assistant County Administrator Valmarie Turner said it has not yet been decided which nonprofits will get that funding. Some CARES Act money has already come to Loudoun nonprofits through the Community Development Block Grant program, which got a boost of more than $800,000 this year from the bill.
That money will also be used to replace the $156,000 in funding which supervisors first approved, then canceled for the Loudoun Museum.
Supervisors Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin) had opposed the May 5 decision to take away the museum’s funding, which hit a years-long partnership with the county government.
“I appreciate [County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large)] bringing this back, and I’m glad that we’re able to do it,” Letourneau said Tuesday. “I do think that we acted in a little bit of haste at the last meeting, and I anticipated there was going to be little bit of help coming and it’s here, and I think the important thing is we’re able to restore this money and keep our commitments.”
Randall retorted she had “no regrets” about the previous vote to cancel funding for the museum and steer the money organizations dealing directly with eh COVID-19 response.
Another $4.5 million will go to personnel costs such as overtime for public safety employees.
And $6.85 million will go into the county’s Business Interruption Fun, repaying the county for the $1.15 million it put into the first round of small business grants and adding enough funding that every small business that applied and qualified for the grants will receive funding.
The county’s Department of Economic Development was able to give out more grants than expected—201 grants—to businesses with fewer than 101 employees, but that was still only a fraction of the qualifying applications the department received. The federal money will mean $7,5000 grants for the 475 businesses remaining, a $3.7 million spend, with another $2 million set aside for a new round of grants.
While the first rounds of funding offered limited help to the county’s smallest businesses, this new round is focused squarely on them—to qualify, businesses must have no more than two W-2 employees, with no limit on contractors; less than $2.5 million in annual gross receipts; and show at least a 25 percent loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And for those businesses that were disqualified in the first round of funding for not having enough employees—the minimum for most funding was three—do not need to apply again to be entered into the pool of applicant.
Like the previous round, grant recipients will be selected at random from among the pool of qualified applicants. 400 business will receive $5,000 grants.
Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) also successfully pushed his colleagues to set aside another $1.15 million from business incentive funds “for additional programs to support the economic recovery of the commercial tax base.” The Department of Economic Development will return to supervisors with proposals for what those programs will look like. The funding mirrors that which supervisors initially set aside for the Business Interruption Fund in April.
Loudoun County staff members expect to see the CARES Act money around June 1, with the towns receiving their share within about 10 days thereafter.
Supervisors approved the funding 8-0-1 on May 19, with Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin) absent.