City launches business relief grant program
The city of Leavenworth is offering grants to assist small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assistant City Manager Taylour Tedder reviewed the program with city commissioners when they met Tuesday.
The program offers one-time grants of up to $5,000 to offset business expenses or lost revenue resulting from the pandemic.
“We have a lot of great businesses in our community,” Tedder said.
And many of them have been hit hard by the pandemic, he said.
He said $250,000 has been allocated for the grant program.
City Manager Paul Kramer said money for the program is available in the city’s general fund after the city was able to use funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for payroll expenses for public safety employees.
Tedder said he anticipates a high volume of applicants for the grant program. He plans to review applications on a weekly basis and award grants based on need.
He anticipates the money allocated for the program will run out in about a month.
To be eligible for a grant, a business must be located in Leavenworth and have between one and 50 employees.
Tedder said applicants must be able to document expenses since March or show a revenue loss between March and October when compared to the same period last year.
“That loss has to be at least $2,500,” he said.
Tedder said expenses or revenue losses that already have been reimbursed through other relief programs are not eligible.
In order to qualify, a business must have been in operation for at least two years. A business is ineligible for a grant if its owner has filed bankruptcy during the last two years.
Only one grant will be awarded per business owner.
Tedder said people can apply for the grant using an online form on the city’s website.
“It’s very usable and user friendly,” he said of the online form.
The online form can be found at leavenworthks.org/reliefgrant
During the City Commission meeting, Wendy Scheidt, executive director for the Leavenworth Main Street Program, expressed concern that the program applies only to businesses that have been in operation for a least two years.
“This is going to eliminate some folks that I really feel like need the grant,” she said.
Kramer said the program is designed to assist businesses that have been invested in the community for a long time.
Commissioners reached a consensus for city officials to proceed with the program as proposed.
“We’ll see where we are in a month or so,” Mayor Mike Griswold said.
In other business
The Leavenworth City Commission:
• Voted to extend the city manager’s contract through Dec. 31, 2022, and amend the contract to include provisions for annual extensions.
• Approved a resolution expressing the intent of the city to issue federally taxable industrial revenue bonds for an improvement project for the Luxury & Imports car dealership.
Assistant City Manager Taylour Tedder said issuance of the bonds will allow the developer to utilize the city’s sales tax exemption for labor and building materials for the project.
He said this will not result in any debt for the city government.
“It’s essentially a pass-through type situation,” he said.
• Approved amendments to a lease agreement with Super Market Developers regarding a parking lot the city leases to Price Chopper.
• Approved an ordinance to make changes to the city’s emergency snow routes.