Home News Local News City gives $1.29M for business grants

City gives $1.29M for business grants


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[Note: This post has been updated to clarify the allocation of funds received by the county.]

The city of Roswell has approved COVID-19 relief grants to 79 local businesses.

“We have already processed all the checks,” said Administrative Services Director Juan Fuentes. “What we will be doing on Monday is calling all the businesses so that they can come into City Hall because what we need is for them also to sign the agreement between the city and the business.”

While the city prefers for business representatives to come in person, Fuentes said, the agreement can be mailed if necessary.

The amount awarded was about $1.29 million. Recipients received an average of 67% of the amount they had requested, Fuentes said. The total amount businesses asked for to cover COVID-related expenses or losses was $1.91 million.

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Eighty businesses had applied for the grants, but Fuentes said that one business did not submit the required documentation.

The funds come from a portion of the money the state received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The state government was allotted $1.25 billion from the aid package after it passed Congress in March.

In late July, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that it would give $28 million to tribal governments and $150 million to local governments. Of the $150 million in aid for counties and municipalities, $50 million was to be reserved for Small Business Continuity Grants or Small Business Redesign Grants.

Continuity grants cover such typical business expenses as payroll, utilities, rent or mortgage, and insurance. Redesign grants cover expenses incurred to operate according to COVID-safe practices. For example, the money could pay for plexiglass barriers or the purchase of technology to conduct business online.

The city of Roswell had asked the state for $12.7 million for its own costs and $2.8 million for business grants. It was awarded $5.56 million for city expenses and losses and $1.35 million for small businesses.

Fuentes said the $62,000 or so of the city business allocation not disbursed will be used to cover city administrative and staff costs.

The city document names the 79 grant recipients, and they include a wide swath of the Roswell community, showing that most industries have suffered economic losses or expenses due to the pandemic.

Those receiving money included hair salons; flower shops; restaurants; hotels; news and media businesses; medical, dental and veterinarian offices; auto repair shops and transportation businesses; laundries; entertainment venues; sports, dance and fitness centers; and nonprofit community organizations.

Chaves County also received CARES funding, $337,750 for small businesses and $537,500 for county expenses. It had requested $2 million, which county staff have said was intended for small business grants only. Instead the state made two awards to Chaves County, one for local government expenses and the other for business grants.

Bill Williams, Chaves County Public Services director, said the county has contacted about 40 businesses outside the city limits about the available funding and has heard back from about 25 so far. It has set a deadline of Nov. 13 for the grant applications.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.