Board opens third round of business grants

A third round of grant funding for Louisa County businesses is now available, with slightly different criteria for applicants than before.

The county is allowing franchises to apply for assistance, as long as they are locally owned and operated and receive no corporate financial support. Instead of three full-time employees, a business can qualify if it has just two. In addition, businesses that applied and received money during one of the first two rounds can apply again.

The application period opened at midnight on Tuesday morning and will close after 10 days, on Nov. 30. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors approved the new criteria at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Grants of up to $10,000 per business are available. Money for the program comes out of the $6.4 million the county received from the federal CARES Act. The funds must be used by the end of December.

Also at this week’s meeting, board members rejected a request by the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce for a $10,000 grant to help it make up for fundraising losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The chamber had to cancel several events this year, including the June street fair.

“They had a significant loss of income because of COVID,” said board Chairman Bob Babyok (Green Springs District). “I can’t think of another nonprofit that has as much impact on small business in our county.”

Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral District) repeated his stance against giving grants to nonprofit organizations, arguing it would lead to more requests. The county does support several non-profits each year during the regular budget process, but did not allow them to apply for CARES money.

The board’s vote to deny assistance to the chamber was 5-2, with Babyok and Supervisor Willie Gentry (Cuckoo District) voting in favor of funding.

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