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ARP Committee Recommends Additional Funding Awards for Small Businesses Affected by Pandemic

Sep 06, 2023

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners American Rescue Plan (ARP) Committee met Tuesday to consider funding recommendations from staff related to the County’s Small Business Economic Assistance Program.

Committee members received a recommendation from staff to provide up to $811,118 in funding to 21 small businesses who applied for assistance under the reopened Small Business Economic Assistance Program. The reopened application period was from July 1-31, 2023. Chief of Staff Tye Vaught said during that time, the County received $1,626,600 in funding requests from 38 unique applicants. The program provides up to $50,000 in financial assistance to small for-profit business that faced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ARP Committee voted unanimously to move the staff recommendation of $811,118 in funding to the full Board of Commissioners for consideration during the Sept. 14 agenda session. The awards would be contingent on the small businesses meeting state and federal requirements for the funding, as well as the successful execution of a contract with the County.

Additionally, the County received applications for additional funding from 16 small businesses that were previously awarded less than the $50,000 maximum during the first phase of the Small Business Economic Assistance Program. Staff recommended awarding an additional $239,623 in funding to these small businesses. The Committee directed staff to provide additional information include which small businesses are recommended to receive the funding during the Sept. 14 agenda session.

Vaught also provided an update on the funding previously allocated during the first phase of the Small Business Economic Assistance Program. He said the Board approved just over $1.8 million in funding and of that amount, there is $400,000 in capacity where approved small businesses have either not provided the necessary documents to receive reimbursement or have been unresponsive to County staff. Vaught said some of these funds could be used to cover the additional funding awards being recommended and said staff would bring a Budget Ordinance Amendment to the Board to transfer funds to support the new recommendations.

Committee members directed staff to provide updates to the Board regarding the status of small businesses that have been approved for funding, both in the first and second phases of the program.

Vaught also provided the Committee with the following updates:

  1. State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (Cornyn-Padilla Amendment) – The U.S. Treasury published its Interim Final Rule in August on the amendment, which allows local governments to utilize a portion of its SLFRF funds for CDBG-related expenditures. Local governments are permitted to use either $10 million or 30%of their total SLFRF allocation, whichever is greater, for CDBG-related, Disaster recovery/mitigation, and transportation infrastructure related expenditures. For Cumberland County, the maximum amount that could be used for these purposes is $19.5 million. Vaught said staff will continue working with the UNC School of Government, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) and other stakeholders to stay up-to-date on developments and additional guidance relevant to the County.
  2. 2023 Annual Recovery Plan Report – Vaught noted that the County’s Annual Recovery Report for projects and expenditures was submitted on July 31, 2023, for the period from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
  3. ARP Projects – Vaught provided Commissioners with an update on a number of ARP-funded projects that have been completed, including reimbursing the County for self-funded claims for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, reimbursing the County for self-funded claims costs for COVID-19 treatment of health insurance plan members; providing rental assistance to eligible households in the County negatively affected by the pandemic and struggling to maintain their rental payments; and restoring public sector staff employment levels to pre-pandemic status through salary and benefit coverage. Committee members directed staff to provide an update on completed projects to the Board of Commissioners at the Sept. 14 agenda session.

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners ARP Committee is comprised of Commissioner Jimmy Keefe, who chairs the Committee, Chairwoman Dr. Toni Stewart and Vice Chairman Glenn Adams.

For more information on the ARP Committee and Cumberland County’s ARP allocation and programs, go to cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/commissioners-group/commissioners/american-rescue-plan.