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Approved Sept. 23, small businesses can get up to $5,000 to help relieve issues and struggles from COVID-19

Helping Molalla's small business community help themselves is the thrust behind a grant program the Molalla City Council signed off on Sept. 23.

The council passed the Emergency Business Assistance Grant Program, which is designed to help support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. There's money to be had that won't have to be paid back, and that can help greatly, said City Manager Dan Huff.

"This was actually a program that our finance director, Chaunee Seifried, put together," said Huff. "There's a coronavirus relief fund that was created by the State of Oregon using some federal funds they'd received. When the federal government delivered all that money, it (initially) went to the counties and cities over 500,000 (population) — essentially Washington and Multnomah counties, as well as Portland."

But the state then came up with its own take on the money it received, allotting smaller cities a certain amount of money based on population. And that's where Molalla is now able to offer some financial assistance to local businesses.

"We have used the fund to purchase needed PPE, some cleaning supplies and some other things we've had to purchase during the pandemic," said Huff. "The state then opened up the options a little bit — within your allotment you can open that money up for business assistance.

"Because we (the city) didn't go into full shutdown, we've only used our relief funds for specific purchases," said Huff. "We thought that, since we aren't going to use all our money through the end of the year, let's tap into the program the state is offering and use it for local businesses."

To that end, the city has set aside $100,000 from its allotment to be used in the Emergency Business Assistance Grant Program.

"It's not coming out of any other city fund or anything like that, and you don't have to pay it back," said Huff.

Molalla businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic can apply for up to $5,000. The deadline for applying — applications and information are on the city's website at cityofmolalla.com — is Oct. 8. Once the application process is complete, a three-person committee will go through the applications to make sure they meet the criteria.

"They can use it for helping to pay rent, a lease or mortgage, for utilities, property taxes, anything COVID-related that businesses are struggling with," explained Huff. "If people are thinking they might want to tap into some of this, they really should get on it and move forward. What we don't disperse will go back into our allotment of funds.

"Here in Molalla, we're small business-centric," he added. "We are hoping people will use it. We want to spend all the money; we don't want to put any of it back into the big fund allotment."


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