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Monroe sets up small business stimulus grants
Deadline June 30

MONROE — Local business owners and nonprofit agencies can apply, before the end of the month, for $110,000 in coronavirus relief grants the city plans to disburse. 
The program makes available $60,000 in small business relief grants and will give priority to businesses that have not been eligible for previous federal, state or county grants related to COVID-19. The city’s goal is to help as many businesses as possible and anticipates that the grants will be awarded in amounts from $1,000 to  $5,000.
Applications for businesses are due by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30 and are estimated to take approximately 30 minutes to complete. A link to the application is here:
“Our highest priority right now is getting our entire community up and running as quickly as possible and as safely as possible,” Mayor Geoffrey Thomas said in a statement.
“Providing support for our business community, especially those that have not received assistance from other grant funds, will help get us there,” the mayor said in a statement.
Grant recipients must use the money to help defray costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic such as rent, utilities and payroll. Qualifying expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Oct. 15, 2020 and the relief funds cannot be used to make up shortfalls in revenue. City Administrator Deborah Knight said by email that she expects these grant awards will be announced by the end of July.
Criteria includes that businesses must have a storefront or primary office space physically located within city limits, have experienced a 25 percent or greater decrease in revenue directly attributable to the coronavirus and be current on all state and local business licensing requirements, or were so on March 23 when Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order was issued.
Additionally, the city will offer $50,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations that provide human services to residents impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Final details, such as the criteria and timeline for this program, are still being developed and more information will be available within a couple of weeks. Knight said the city anticipates having the application issued in early July and that the awards would be announced in early August.
Grants for businesses will be awarded by a review board comprised of city staff plus members from the city’s municipal economic development advisory board. The people on the review board are ineligible to apply for the city grants. The nonprofit grants review board will have a similar structure.
The city anticipates receiving $577,500 which will be available on a reimbursement basis from the State of Washington as long as the expenses are directly connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining balance of the total received, after the grants’ programs, will be used to help cover city expenses.
Funding for the Monroe CARES grants will come from money the city receives as part of the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. The City Council unanimously approved a contract with the state for the relief funds at its meeting on June 9. The city must expend all of its funds by Oct. 31, Knight said.
Previously this spring Monroe provided some economic relief by waiving utility late fees for businesses and residents, city building fees on commercial projects in the downtown area and mandatory garbage pick up for businesses that were closed.  


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