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County to provide more relief funding for small businesses

Chaves County Commissioner Dara Dana, left, and former Commissioner Robert Corn, right, provide a check Dec. 9 for a business grant to Debbie and Erin McGonagle, owners of Trailer Village RV Park on East Second Street. (Submitted Photo)

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A second round of business relief funding for Chaves County small businesses outside the Roswell city limits is due to be dispersed starting Monday.

Interim County Manager Bill Williams said that $153,016 in grants to nine businesses in Dexter, Hagerman, Lake Arthur and unincorporated areas of the county have been awarded to cover COVID-19 related expenses and costs incurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

“We had more requests monetarily that we had funds to go out, so we had to reduce everything to 44%,” he said.

Williams said he personally visited small businesses in the county to encourage them to apply if they met the criteria.

“Based on the calls we have gotten from businesses that missed the initial deadlines and from the city and the county, yeah, there is still need in the community,” Williams said.

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The fact that the second phase of funding covered only 44% of qualified expenses also points to the unmet need in the area, he added.

The money came to the county from the state government, which had received about $1.25 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act after the federal legislation was signed into law in March. In late July, the state announced that it would provide $178 million of those funds to local and tribal governments that applied for the money, with $50 million set aside for small business continuity and redesign grants.

Chaves County received $337,750 for the business grants. Williams said that 29% of the county money awarded has been requested to cover non-owner employee payroll. Other qualified expenses include such items as rent, mortgages, insurance, utilities, personal protective equipment, plexiglass barriers or computer and teleconferencing equipment needed to conduct business during COVID restrictions on usual business practices.

The first round of funding awarded by the county on Dec. 9 covered expenses from March to June 30. The county provided $184,734 to nine applicants during that phase, Williams said.

He added that 100% of the requested need of qualified applicants in the first round was able to be funded.

He said some businesses did qualify for two grants, both Phase 1 and Phase 2 funding.

The city of Roswell received $1.35 million for small business relief from the state and awarded $1.29 million to 79 businesses within the city limits in November.

City Administrative Services Director Juan Fuentes said at the time the city had received applications requesting $1.91 million in relief, with the city funding about 67% of the requested amount.

Chaves County also received $537,500 to cover COVID-related expenses for county operations, while the city of Roswell received $5.56 million for its COVID expenses and costs.

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

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.