The Athens City Council gave the go-ahead on Monday for a grant program to help businesses hurt by COVID-19 restrictions.
By a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Robert Gross opposed, the council passed a Resolution authorizing Athens Economic Development Corporation to develop and implement the Athens COVID-19 Small Business Support and Recovery Grant program. A Budget Amendment in the amount of $100,000, will fund the grants.
Mayor Monte Montgomery said some other cities have instituted such a grant and it would be a good thing for Athens.
"The funds are with the EDC and I don't think this $100,000 will affect the long term plans of the EDC, so I think it's worthwhile to accomplish this," Montgomery said.
Councilman Ed McCain said he trusts the EDC to review the applications thoroughly.
"We're budgeting $100,000 for it but that doesn't mean that $100,000 will be doled out," McCain said. "I'm not saying it will or won't, but I want to get the process moving and open up the funds for those businesses that are in desperate need."
On June 8, the council conducted a first reading of a Resolution authorizing the AEDC to develop and implement the program and authorize a required budget amendment for the funding.
Ahlers said at that meeting there was a concern with some members of the board and city council that businesses might double dip, getting money from federal or state programs and also the local grant. Ahlers explained that the grant application will include verbiage that the owner certifies that their business has not received any Paycheck Protection Plan or Small Business Administration COVID-19 related funds. Applicants will have to submit a copy of their bank statements to demonstrate they have not received any additional funds.
In other action, the council approved:
• an Ordinance concerning the repeal and replacement of Section 31A of the Zoning Ordinance, in its entirety, regarding Temporary Use Permits;
• a Resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a Land Lease Agreement with ADDCO Aviation formally known as Yardelle Investments LLC. for area 1 Lot No. 3 at Athens Municipal Airport.