Northampton County to evaluate one other $1.13M in small-business grants; program approaches finish

EASTON, Pa. – Northampton County Council will vote on $1.13 million complete in grants to 95 small companies Thursday, because the federal help allotted to the non-public sector is near getting used up. 

County Govt Lamont McClure, with council’s approval, has supplied practically $25 million in federal pandemic help to non-public companies over two years.

The cash first got here from the CARES Act, accepted beneath former president Donald Trump, and the newest rounds of help have come from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. 

County Commissioner John Cusick has questioned whether or not this system that was designed to get cash “on the road” quick to assist companies affected by state-imposed shutdowns would ever finish, whereas Commissioner Ron Heckman has stated the help relayed by the county ought to assist workers.

The grants, proposed by a committee together with the administration and council, have routinely been accepted for 2 years. 

The record of companies on the newest record was not out there Wednesday. The utmost grant is $15,000. County Council’s finance committee reviewed the record Wednesday and despatched it to the complete council for a vote Thursday. 

After Thursday’s vote, solely $344,000 shall be left from the $25 million allotted, in line with Tina Smith, director of the county Division of Neighborhood and Financial Improvement. Purposes for the final of the cash have to be in by March 31 for council evaluate in April.  

Some house owners of small companies have proven up at current council conferences asking that this system proceed. A restaurant proprietor talked about inflation, which was by no means a goal of the plan, whereas one individual mentioned how she practically needed to take a job at a warehouse earlier than receiving a grant.  

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Northampton County is because of obtain one other $30 million in American Rescue Plan cash quickly. McClure will current a plan for utilizing that to council, which has the ultimate say on spending issues. 

Council President Lori Vargo Heffner stated it could be troublesome to allocate extra public cash to non-public companies, when the county has issues hiring at Gracedale Nursing House and in lots of different departments. 

“I am unable to communicate to council’s determination, however they might be very hard-pressed to say ‘sure’ to one thing like that once we’re seeing a lot want within the county’s operations,” she stated. “The administration will suggest, what it does.” 

Gracedale is in need of employees and isn’t assembly Pennsylvania requirements for hours of nursing care per affected person. In the meantime, the state is contemplating rising that normal by 50%.