Routt County Commissioners Approve $773,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds to Businesses

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO, December 16, 2020 – In a Board meeting today, the Routt County Commissioners approved $773,000 for the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund for businesses.  Funding came from federal CARES Act funding that the County did not use.  The City of Steamboat Springs also contributed $140,000 of their CARES Act funding for both the business and non-profit community.  An independent group of community members organized by the Steamboat Springs Chamber reviewed the 200 applications and submitted their recommendations to the Commissioners for approval.

One of the members of the review committee, Randy Rudasics, shared some opening comments with the Commissioners, “Many businesses were successful in using federal PPP funds when they were available, but they ran out.  Hopefully, Congress will approve additional funds for businesses. It is great to see Routt County making this funding available and we applaud you for finding the funding and working with the Chamber and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to create a clear, open and transparent process with an independent committee to develop the recommendations.”

The independent review committee was comprised of:

·      Randy Rudasics, Manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center at Colorado Mountain College; 

·      John Bristol, Director of Economic Development, Steamboat Springs Chamber;

·      Adonna Allen, President, Alpine Bank;

·      PJ Wharton, President, Yampa Valley Bank.

·      Tim Wohlgenant, Yampa Valley Community Foundation

In explaining the process, Mr. Rudasics said they received the applications on December 11th, met on December 15th to review and prioritize the 200 applications. The first step was eligibility, businesses had to be registered with the Secretary of State for example. The second step was going through each industry group, restaurants and bars were given a preference.  There were a number of questions asked and businesses could get to total of 31 points.  The higher the score, the more money that was allocated.  Some of the questions were:

·      Were you in business before the pandemic?

·      Do you employ less than 50 people?

·      Are you registered with the state of Colorado?

·      Are you up to date on your tax payments?

·      Do you and will you follow all state and local public health orders?

·      Are you applying for one location?

·      Are you corporate owned? (disqualifying)

·      Does this request overlap with PPP funding you already received for these expenses?

·      Are you locally owned and operated?

·      Number of employees?

·      Describe the hardship from COVID-19?

·      How will you use the funds?

The highest amount possible was $15,000 for a grant.  The list of recommended grants can be found here.

“We wish we could have funded everyone that applied.  There were businesses that scored lower but were clearly in need. One area, where we were short were small businesses and sole proprietors who do not have employees. If there is another round of funding, we should help them,” said PJ Wharton.

Commissioner Corrigan added, “Normally, it would be great to meet and give away money, but with the need and the time frame, I am sure it was difficult to make these decisions. My hat is off to you on your recommendations.  We have developed a high level of trust and I trust you did the best you could do with the resources and time you had available.”

The Commissioners voted to approve the recommended list and the funds will be distributed before the end of the year.

Interim County Manager, Mark Collins explained that the $153,000 of funding for non-profit grants will be reviewed next week by the Commissioners.