• Last modified 471 days ago (June 4, 2020)


Cities lose COVID grants to county

Staff writer

Marion and Hillsboro were shut out but Marion County won a $167,000 grant Tuesday to help small businesses struggling after COVID-19 shutdowns.

On Monday Marion had hired Ranson Citycode Financial, Wichita, to be administrator for the COVID-19 grant it hoped to get.

The city won’t have to pay the company because it charges by the hour, Mayor David Mayfield said Tuesday.

Still, Mayfield was disappointed to hear that the city would not get a grant because it had hoped to help its small businesses.

“We’ve got the same situation as everybody else,” Mayfield said. “We had like 12 businesses already apply for them.”

Mayfield said he supposed the county would help small businesses throughout the county, including cities.

Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston also was disappointed his city did not get the grant it had hoped for, but the city will continue to try to help its businesses.

“We went to try to use every program available for the benefit of our businesses,” Thurston said.

Thurston said Hillsboro had a number of small businesses — especially food businesses — that were struggling.

The state gave out $9 million in community development block grants to give relief to small businesses as they reopen after shutdowns.

Cities and counties applied for grants by a competitive application process. According to Lauren Fitzgerald, spokesman for the governor, the state received 106 applications for more than $32 million in grants. The applications were processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

All funds for this round of grants have been awarded, but the state expects to receive $7 million for a second round of grants.

Grants were to help local businesses retain jobs for low-to-moderate income employees by covering expenses such as inventory, wages, and utilities. The grants were given to local governments so they could determine where the greatest needs were in their community.

Last modified June 4, 2020