At least $41,000 in relief funds still available for Rifle businesses
Any business owners still struggling to make ends meet are being invited to take advantage of additional COVID-19 relief funds.
Rifle City Council on Wednesday voted to make available an additional $41,000 in forgivable business grants. In addition to business relief, the unanimous approval will also allocate $12,000 to Reach Out Colorado and another $27,000 to finance remodeling costs at city hall.
The council also passed a $64,454 contract with Phil Vaughan Construction Management, Inc. for a City Hall remodeling project. The facility is currently dealing with a number of issues, including failing pipes in the restrooms. The pending $27,000 allocation, however, is tentative.
“I think it’s valuable to put that ($27,000) toward our remodel, but I think it’s more valuable if we can effectively get it into the hands of people that need it,” Council member Sean Strode said.
City Planning Director Nathan Lindquist said there are still areas in local commerce that need help recuperating from lost revenue in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, businesses who’ve reached out to the city report continue to report supply chain issues and getting parts required to perform work.
“People aren’t able to perform work, or get paid, so it does seem like we can use some more money to send to the (Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation) for,” Lindquist said.
Figures show the city has so far distributed $733,931 in CARES Act funding throughout 2020. Of which, 484,528 has specifically gone toward business and non-profit grants and loans. Boosts range anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000.
One Jewelers owner and vice president Nicole Beightel said on Friday her business used two rounds of funding to help defray general operating expenses and rent.
“I think it’s awesome,” Beightel said. “I think it’s great that they helped us out and made sure nobody closed during this pandemic.”
The downtown Rifle storefront, a business that sells and repairs jewelry as well as does on-site manufacturing, temporarily shuttered between March and April 2020 due to COVID-19, Beightel said.
“It’s just crazy, throughout this whole thing,” she added.
Beyond economic relief for commerce, city figures show non-profit organizations, including the Apeen community Foundation and Reach Out Colorado, have so far received $50,000 in CARES Act funding funnelled through the city.
Figures also show the city has given away an additional $7,218 to Rifle residents. Of that, $4,000 went to paying city water bills as well as $1,000 to pay energy bills. Meanwhile, Reach Out Colorado allocated $1,500 in grocery gift cards as Christmas gifts. The effort was through the Totes of Hope Food Assistance Program with Garfield Re-2 School District.
Council member Clint Hostettler on Wednesday did question, however, how the city will screen requests for further relief funding and if some businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity without necessarily needing the funds.
Lindquist proposed the city make the funds available to businesses who’ve yet to receive the first two rounds of COVID-19 boosts. He also said most businesses that have so far applied for the funds, needed it.
Council member Brian Condie showed support for the city’s decision to provide further relief.
“This is exactly what i was looking for,” he said. “We can’t solve everybody’s problem, but we are trying.”
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