Banks City Hall. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

BANKS - Small businesses in Banks can apply for a Small Business Assistance Grant to help weather the adverse effects of the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Click here to get the application.

The city was given $75,000 of federal CARES Act funds from Washington County after signing an intergovernmental agreement with the county. Awards will range from $1,000 to $10,000.

To qualify, a business or 501(c)(3) nonprofit must have been adversely affected by the economic ramifications of the pandemic between March through June 2020, either because the business or nonprofit was closed as a result of Executive Order 20-07 or Executive Order 20-12, or a for profit business demonstrated a one-month decline in revenue of more than 30% from March 2020 through May 2020, as compared to revenue in January 2020 or February 2020. 

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For a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to qualify, they must have had a greater than 30% loss of revenue from March 2020 to May 2020 compared with the same time frame in 2019.

Businesses must be located within the Banks city limits, serve Banks residents, and if they are part of a national chain, must be an individually owned franchise. They must also be in possession of a city of Banks business license before they can receive funds.  

Funds can be used to cover costs for expenses that occurred from March through June such as payroll, rent or mortgage payments, utility payments, costs of retrofitting a business to meet standards to open during the pandemic, or replacing spoiled inventory from a COVID-19 caused closure. 

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, August 10 and are online and also can be obtained from city hall during regular business hours. Completed applications can be emailed to Banks City Manager Jolynn Becker at [email protected] or hand delivered to city offices during regular business hours. 

The deadline to file for the grant is 3 p.m. August 28, 2020.

During a discussion at the July 14 city council meeting regarding the CARES funding intergovernmental agreement with the county, Counselor Mike Lyda said he was participating in the decision to deliver the funds, but was, in general, opposed to what he called “business welfare.”

“Does anybody else see the irony in this whole grant thing like I do?” Lyda asked his colleagues as they walked through information on the program. “How the federal and state government has put this hardship on so many businesses, and yet, here we are looking for getting grant money from the federal and state government - county government?” he said.

“I think there’s irony there, yeah. I would say so. But it’s what we got at the moment,” said mayor Pete Edison

Lyda eventually made the motion to adopt the agreement between Banks and Washington County, and it passed unanimously. 

Once the application window is closed, the applications will be reviewed by a committee  made up of the mayor, a selected city councilor, a member of the Banks Economic Development Council, and city manager Jolynn Becker and then given to the Banks city council to approve the grant award amounts during the regular September 2020 city council meeting. 

After all applications are considered, the city plans to mail checks to grant recipients by September 15. 

“The Business Grant Fundamental is to focus on equity: target the city’s limited resources on businesses that are most vulnerable, especially minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with limited access to commercial banks and federal support,” a city-issued letter about the program read.  

Those with questions should contact Becker by email, or call the city at 503-324-5112.