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City of Columbia gives update on ARPA Business Funding

From Tiffany Collins

The Columbia City Council allocated a portion of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding to a grant program that is being utilized by local businesses. There were certain stipulations placed upon the funding and the manner(s) in which it was to used by the community.

This was a result of the ARPA committee allocation of funding for primarily drug and alcohol abuse and appropriate support funding, small business assistance, and the updating of the city park properties. The city has been very frugal with the monies and have around 75% of the funding received remaining.

A three person board was appointed by the Mayor with approval from the city council to review applications for small businesses. Any small business within the city limits can apply for funding to be used for updating the exterior of their businesses. The owner/leaser complete the application that indicates name of business, what their project is, and the estimated time line for completion. The three members of the board are: Leon Lewis, Mary Beth Phelps, and Joe Willis.

There are thirteen businesses that were approved in the first round of funding.

Projects include: windows/doors for energy efficiency, painting, awning, and other exterior items. There can be no neon colors used in the building(s) on the square. You are required to complete within six months (or, can request an extension).

The City of Columbia is assisting with supplies. The owner/leaser is responsible for labor and any other costs associated with the project. When project is approved, they must sign they understand and agree to the terms and conditions.

Currently, there are around forty projects in total that are approved,; or, that are in review; may or may not be approved. There are also inquiries on some more.

"We appreciate the support of the community," said Mayor Pamela Hoots. "This project is to assist with improving our town, helping our small business owners, and working with the local community."

There have been questions when reimbursements would occur. The reimbursements occur when a project is completed and/or a portion of the project is done. Receipts are submitted and verified. A total of $46,399.13 has been reimbursed as of this date.

When projects are approved; the applicant is notified and required to sign notification of their agreement to the specifications. If not signed within 30 days; the amount of the funding will go back into the original funding; and, that applicant will be required to apply again.

This story was posted on 2023-01-03 10:29:04
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