Miami County considers increasing grants to businesses, nonprofits

The Miami County commissioners said they would be interested in increasing the amount of federal CARES Act money going to grants for businesses and nonprofits hit hard by COVID-19.
The Miami County commissioners said they would be interested in increasing the amount of federal CARES Act money going to grants for businesses and nonprofits hit hard by COVID-19.

The Miami County commissioners said they would be interested in increasing the amount of federal CARES Act money going to grants for businesses and nonprofits hit hard by COVID-19.

The commissioners discussed the county’s grants through the relief program Tuesday with Rich Osgood, county development director, whose staff has worked on the promotion and review of applications for a first round of grants.

The commissioners agreed in September to use money remaining after the county’s COVID-related eligible expenses for grants to nonprofits and businesses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental for many local small businesses, non-profit organizations and their employees, and the Miami County Board of Commissioners are desirous of using available CARES funds received to establish the … programs to lessen the economic damage caused by the pandemic,” the commissioners said in a summary of their action.

Both programs initially offered grants of up to $10,000 for use to cover allowable expenses. All applicants – business or nonprofit - must be physically located in the county.

Development Director Rich Osgood shared the list of applications with commissioners.

Several applications included eligible reimbursement amounts exceeding the $10,000 cap initially set by commissioners, he said. “We are back before you to see if we can increase the cap or an overall budget amount to award more dollars to the applicants,” Osgood said.

The average reimbursement sought was $25,000, he said. The commissioners initially approved $250,000 for grants.

So far, nonprofit programs across the county applied for nearly $370,000, with more requests under review. Businesses had submitted more than $141,600 in requests.

The original request deadline was Sept. 18, but requests have continued to be filed, said Dan Suerdieck, county manager of planning and zoning.

If the commissioners decide to increase the cap on individual grants, applicants can be notified of the change and work with them on eligible items, Suerdieck said.

Commissioners Greg Simmons and Ted Mercer said they had no issues with approving the grants for those eligible and for expanding the cap. Mercer, however, said he wants to make sure those who might be eligible are aware of the program which has been publicized on the county website and by other means.

“I want to give out the money …. But there might be a bunch of businesses and nonprofits that are not aware this is out there,” Mercer said.

Commissioner Greg Simmons said he wanted to contact the Miami County Fair Board to discuss if it might be eligible for some of the money because of the limited activities allowed for this August’s fair.

“They lost a lot of money this year. I feel like that is something we need to be looking at,” Simmons said of the fair board.

Other organization had also inquired about possible money but have not yet applied, the commissioners were told. They were supportive of a possible second round of grants once the first round is finalized.

“We want to help as many businesses and nonprofits as we can. This has been a tough year for everyone. This is one way for them to keep their head above water in the business world,” Mercer said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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