It appears there will be more than enough money to meet the needs of town businesses that applied for COVID-19 relief from the town.
The Town of Leesburg invited businesses to apply for one of more than 700 grants available via the CARES Act federal stimulus legislation funding received by the town. The Town Council had earmarked a little more than $3 million to go toward grants for qualified small businesses.
The funding breakdown would have allowed for up to 200, $2,500 grants for businesses with a 2019 gross annual income of between $25,000 and $100,000; and up to 505, $5,000 grants for businesses with gross annual income between $100,001 and $1 million. To be eligible, businesses had to meet a number of criteria, including operating in the Town of Leesburg before March 1, and being in good standing on all tax payments and related business licenses. Grants can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business, but cannot be used to replace lost revenue.
However, it appears the supply of grant money far outpaces the demand from town businesses. According to Deputy Town Manager Keith Markel, only 259 businesses applied for a grant by the July 13 deadline. The town staff is reviewing the applications to ensure those businesses meet the criteria to qualify for funding. It was not immediately clear what would happen to the additional funds if there are any left over once the business grants are distributed.
Area nonprofits that serve town residents will soon be invited to apply for their own funding. The council dedicated $1 million of its CARES funding for nonprofits that can assist town residents who have been medically or financially impacted by the pandemic.
An evaluation committee, consisting of five community members and non-voting town staffers, will review applications and make a recommended allocation of grant funding to the Town Council. All grant fund expenditures must be in direct response to the public health emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In making its recommendations, the focus of the evaluation committee will be to address as many COVID-19-related community needs as possible. Examples of support may include rent/mortgage assistance, utility assistance, food assistance, and medical expenses related to COVID-19. Funds may only be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and must be spent on qualifying activities by Dec. 30.
The council capped each nonprofit grant at $50,000. Council members are scheduled to review the recommendations of the evaluation committee and approve the final grant awards at their work session and business meetings on Aug. 10 and 11. The Town Council will award only those grants that it finds to be necessary expenditures to address the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with federal guidelines for the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Nonprofit applications are due by July 22. Full details, including guidelines and requirements, can be found atleesburgva.gov/CARESgrants. For assistance or questions emailCARES@leesburgva.govor call 703-771-7744.