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Commissioners look to add to SBG funding

The next round of CARES Act small business grants in Warren County may get a boost.

“So far, we have allocated $2 million for the small business grant program,” Warren County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said during a Monday work session.

The window for the third round of funding closes Friday.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston in a statement said that entities that have not applied, have applied and only had part of their grant awarded, or were denied are encouraged to apply in that third window.

Out of the original $3.5 million allocation, the commissioners originally set aside about $2.2 million for non-profit organizations and small business.

That funding is running short, but the applications are not.

Through discussion with Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Jim Decker, the commissioners have found that there have been requests for another $900,000.

Eggleston said he believes business owners and non-profit directors that have not yet applied have seen published numbers from the first two rounds and do not want to miss out.

The commissioners could supplement the remaining $200,000 or so to close the gap.

“We have some more CARES Act funding we could allocate,” Kafferlin said.

The commissioners set aside $500,000 for broadband projects, but have only received applications for $157,400. That leaves almost $350,000 unclaimed.

“I think we should take all the remaining broadband (allocation) and put it in the small business grant,” Kafferlin said.

Commissioner Tricia Durbin said she has spoken with a representative of another entity that may be interested in funding, but who may not bring a request through by the end of the year.

The commissioners hope more fire and EMS providers will apply for funding.

“Not even half of the departments have applied at this point,” Kafferlin said.

The City of Warren, Youngsville Borough, and Conewango Township may be eligible for dollars toward law enforcement, but the commissioners don’t have their hands on those funds.

The CARES Act includes almost a billion dollars “to be awarded to state and local governments to help them “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.”

The commissioners support providing that relief to the municipalities, but the dollars have not been released and are not likely to be until after the Nov. 3 General Election, Eggleston said.

“The rest of November… it’s going to be interesting.”

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