CHADRON – The Chadron City Council last night approved a new Micro-Grant program to help local businesses facing a cash flow crunch because coronavirus limits. The first application deadline is next Thursday with the money going out the next week.
The program is using $30,000 from the city’s LB 840 economic development sales tax fund for grants up to $1,000 awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The money is to be used for operating expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities, and marketing/advertising.
City Manager Greg Yanker told the council last night that the Micro-Grant program grew out of conversations with Northwest Nebraska Development Corp executive director Deb Cottier about another program that matches gift card sales by local restaurants and other businesses.
Yanker said after hashing out the basics of how the Micro-Grant program would work, they took it to a very positive reception from the LB-840 advisory committee.
Cottier told the council that short application period should trigger quicker action by businesses and that even a small influx of a thousand dollars could be the difference for some of the city’s smallest businesses staying open or closing.
Several council members expressed concern about how to make sure the grants go to the intended targets and not large corporations such as Walmart or individuals who have multiple LLCs that aren’t true businesses.
City Attorney Adam Edmund didn’t see it as that big a threat, pointing out that the council could decline payment at the appropriate time and adding that Chadron is small enough that the possibility of public shaming might keep applicants on the straight and narrow.
Grant application forms can be downloaded from the city website chadron-nebraska.com or by calling City Hall at 308-432-0505.
They’re due back by 2:00 PM April 30 either by email to the city clerk or in the drop-box on the front of City Hall. The council is scheduled to approve payment at its May 4th meeting.