The Rice County Board of Commissioners today unanimously approved administering $1,316,379.81 to provide economic rellief grants to local businesses and non-profits.  These entities had to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State of Minnesota has allocated $114,800,000 for counties across the state to administer to their local businesses.

County Administrator Sara Folsted reported, "I think there's probably 14 or 15 hundred businesses that were either directly or indirectly affected" in Rice County.

The maximum grants awarded will be $10,000.  Commissioner Jeff Docken commented, "That capping at $10,000 would be 130.  That gets spread kind of thin but then again there may be several businesses that wouldn't bother with it or don't want to bother with it."

Docken added there may be some $5,000 grants or other amounts, not all would necessarily be $10,000.

Commissioner Steve Underdahl recommended quarterly reports showing COVID's impact might make more businesses eligible.  He said, "They might have had you know the first two quarters of the year might have been okay for them.  The last two quarters might not have been so the cumulative might not give a true picture."

Folsted says the applications will be put on the Rice County website, "And then let's go for two weeks and then start reviewing those applications and keep it rolling thereafter until all the funds are expended."

The Rice County Administrator added, "If we get to a point where we do spend the funds from the state we do have funds we can use to supplement this program if we need to. So we'll just work through the state funds first and I'll come back to you with the status on that and if we need to supplement, we need to supplement."

Folsted says the impact is determined by being closed by an executive order or evidence of being impacted by sales or revenue decline. The list of eligible uses for the funds is expanded from what was eligible under CARES and should simplify the verification and distribution process.

A listing of eligible businesses is available on the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development website.


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