By Victoria Metcalf
Special to Plumas News
Plumas County business-owners and operators as well as some non-profits might have an opportunity for a share of $100,000 following a Tuesday, Nov. 10 Board of Supervisors meeting. During that meeting supervisors are expected to approve receiving a $1.8 million federal CARES Act grant, according to County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick.
Public comment is expected during the early part of the Nov. 10 meeting for business owners and operators anticipating some relief for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hydrick explained. The meeting begins at 10 a.m.; public comments are accepted soon after.
Hydrick received word Wednesday, Nov. 4, of Plumas County’s share of the CARES Act grant. And should supervisors approve acceptance of the $1.8 million grant, $100,000 in CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) will be made available to assist local businesses experiencing costs related to COVID-19 or business interruption caused by required closures due to COVID-19 and any necessary expenditures incurred between March 1 and ending Dec. 30, 2020.
Grant funding availability is for those businesses considered non-essential. These can include those involved in personal care, lodging providers, retail, restaurants, bars, professional services and non-profits that do not include government-related services.
All businesses must be located in Plumas County. Businesses also must be registered with the California Secretary of State’s Office and have verification available on that website.
The lion’s share of the grant is to cover costs the county of Plumas has incurred by COVID-19, Hydrick explained.
Once the supervisors approved the funding, there is only a small window of opportunity for local business owners and operators to apply, according to Hydrick.
Those applications will be reviewed by county Auditor Roberta Allen, County Counsel Craig Settlemire and Hydrick. Those who apply can expect a response within five business days, Hydrick said. Tiers have been established and begin with businesses with at least one full-time employee.
The application process has been simplified as much as possible, Hydrick said. Section 3 of the application explains that legitimate uses of funding can go toward utilities, childcare, COVID-19 compliance and mitigation, expired and damaged foods/goods/products and layoffs and unemployment.
Other legitimate expenses include facility modifications and interior or exterior changes directly related to COVID-19. Also, debt forgiveness, payroll for extra cleaning services, supplies of masks, cleaner and gloves, and a pivot of services or goods to remain competitive.
Approved expenses incurred also include employee housing and training; efforts to improve technology including hardware, software or new apps; marketing and other expenses related to COVID-19, Hydrick outlined.
The CARES Act Grants Management Team’s role is to ensure that comprehensive and fair assessment is given to every application. “The management team will verify that all grantees meet the ‘Grantee Qualifying and Eligibility Requirements’ as set forth,” Hydrick said.
The team could include in its risk assessment debarment, convictions of fraud, theft, or embezzlement as well as perceived or real convictions of interest, he explained about anyone who applies under suspicious conditions, Hydrick said.
Documents submitted within the application are considered public documents. “The county retains the right to publish data regarding a grantee’s finances, performance metrics, and program evaluation,” according to Hydrick. While applications will be available online by Wednesday, Nov. 11, the deadline to apply is Dec. 4. Hydrick said that all reporting on the expenditure of the grant funding comes toward the end of December.
Successful applicants will receive grant funds through the county auditor.
“We’re working really hard keep it simplified,” Hydrick said. “And we want to be able to reach as many people as possible.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) was enacted by the U.S. Congress on March 27. The CRF or Coronavirus Relief Fund became available through that process. CRF is aid to counties. CRF is one of the emergency aid programs to combat the global coronavirus pandemic. A total of $150 billion was made available to CRF by amending the Social Security Act and is administered by the U.S. Treasury Department. In August, Plumas County received its first installment of $1.8 million in CRF funds.
For more information contact the office of the County Administer Gabriel Hydrick at 530-283-6446 or email at [email protected].