FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Board of Nassau County Commissioners approve Small Business Recovery Program and mortgage and rent support during COVID-19

By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
July 28, 2020

Anxious to help small businesses recover from the devastation brought on by COVID-19 and to assist apartment dwellers and homeowners with rent or mortgage payments, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a special meeting on July 27, 2020. That meeting resulted in two programs being unanimously approved.

The first was the Nassau CARES Small Business Recovery Grant Program and the second was for the allocation of funds regarding the SHIP (State Housing Initiatives Program) to Nassau County residents to be used for rent and mortgage assistance.

David Jahosky, Managing Director of the Government Services Group (GSG).

David Jahosky, Managing Director of the Government Services Group (GSG), the company hired by the County to manage CARES funding, provided the presentation outlining eligibility and other criteria. Jahosky noted that GSG worked with a team that included the BOCC, constitutional officers, elected officials, municipal governments, the SBDC (Small Business Development Council) and other civic leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce.

Said Jahosky, “We need to balance eligibility and documentation as the County has the financial responsibility and the fiduciary responsibility of properly spending the federal funds but also you [the County] . . . have a need for the business community that needs help.”

He went on to say, “we’re trying to balance those two aspects in terms of getting money out into the community as soon as possible . . . and to help prevent claw-back provisions in the future.”

For the Small Business Recovery Grant Program, $2.2 million is available.

At the outset, 6,700 small businesses were identified as potential recipients. Simple math demonstrated that if evenly divided, the grant amount would be just $328 per business.

With an eye toward maximizing the benefit to the County and to the business owner, for what is a very labor-intensive

At the end of the day, the recommendation was made that for a business to apply they:
• must be “for profit” and not publicly traded
• have revenues of less than $1 million in gross annual income for 2019 and;
• have up to 9 FTEs (full time equivalent employees)

In addition, the business must:
• have been in operation since January 1, 2017
• have not received any funds covered by insurance or from the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) exceeding $50,000
• be fully or partially owned by a Nassau County resident and be physically located within the boundaries of the County
• be current on all federal income, payroll, sales, property and unemployment taxes.

A complete list of requirements and documents that must be provided as part of the application are illustrated on the slide below.

With those conditions met, there are projected to be 440 businesses that qualify for what will be a $5,000 grant.

The application process will begin on August 1st and to ‘level the playing field,” once an application is received, be it completed online, via email or submitted at a drop box set up at county offices, a random number will be assigned so as to avoid any long lines associated with the rush to be “first come/first-served.” Such a system will help limit any gatherings or long lines that would go against social distancing guidelines recommended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide all applicants an equal opportunity for being awarded a grant.

There will be a two week “open application” period. After review of all applications, payments to the selected qualifying businesses will be sent by what is estimated to be the end of August.

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