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City Council Regular Meeting
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) authorized public grants to businesses to help recover losses during the COVID Pandemic. The act requires businesses to demonstrate that they suffered loss during the COVID pandemic and specifies that the losses incurred were from March 2021 forward.
When considering the allocation of ARPA funds, the City of Schertz approved up to $1M in grants to Schertz businesses as part of its total allocation. The City also formed a 5-person committee consisting of two council members, the mayor, The Chamber President, and the Economic Development Director. The committee was tasked with reviewing applications and to determine the grant amounts awarded based on submitted documentation.
Accordingly, the City established an application form (example in your packet) and a process to apply for the funds. The application window opened on October 1, 2021 and closed on December 1, 2021. A total of 56 applications were received and considered by the committee.
Council approved an initial award of $302,500 for 22 applicants on January 11, 2022. Requests for more information and documentation regarding actual losses went out to the remaining applicants.
At this meeting, the committee is recommending the Council consider 15 applications for approval and award of $129,000. Each of these applicants met the required standard for submission of documentation that they suffered loss during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee then determined the appropriate level of award. A list of all the applications and amounts suggested for award is included in Council's packet as Attachment A.
Nineteen applications did not meet the criteria and will not be awarded funds. The principal reason that these applicants did not meet the criteria is that they either did not provide the required documentation or they could not be verified as a business in the City of Schertz. A list of the nineteen applicants is included in Council's packet as Attachment B.
In terms of record keeping, to meet the intent of ARPA, the city is required to collect the following data:
A brief description of the structure and objectives of the assistance program (e.g., grants for additional costs related to Covid-19 mitigation)
Number of small businesses served by the program
Description of the City’s approach to ensuring that aid to small businesses responds to negative economic impact of Covid-19.
The City has complied with all three of these requirements by asking the businesses to demonstrate losses during the pandemic and that any purchases made to assist with those losses were incurred after March 1, 2021. The businesses were required to submit documentation of their losses so the committee could determine an appropriate award amount. A file has been established for each applicant with the application and documentation that would be needed in case an audit occurs.
Grant recipients under the Schertz program are classified as “beneficiaries” and not “subrecipients” (which have a higher degree of ensuring compliance with ARPA). Thus, Schertz does not have a monitoring requirement for their use of the funds beyond the three types of data collection mentioned earlier in this memo.
The goal was to help Schertz businesses recover from the COVID crisis and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.
The benefit to the community is that businesses would be assisted in their efforts to recover losses during the pandemic and remain as viable businesses for the future in Schertz.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDED ACTION
Approve the award of grants to businesses in Schertz as determined by the committee.
The awarded funds do not come out of Schertz’s tax revenue but come out of the allocation of funds from the ARPA total for the City of Schertz.
Staff recommends Council approves Resolution 22-R-27 and award
$129,000 to the 15 Schertz businesses.
Schertz Small Business Grant Guidelines and Application Form
22-R-27 ARPA Business Grant Funds
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