Olmsted County shifts funds to fuel more business grants

“There were about $4 million dollars in applications,” Wilfredo Roman-Catala, Olmsted County’s chief financial officer, said Tuesday. “Out of those, as of Thursday last week, they have approximately $3.5 million that were deemed preliminarily eligible.”

Roughly, $2.86 million in requests came from what the county is considering priority 1 and 2 businesses, meaning those that either haven’t received funds from county or state relief grants or those that only received support from one of the sources.

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Meanwhile, $677,000 in funds set aside to help local nonprofits exceeded the demand. Rochester Area Foundation reported receiving $544,000 in qualified requests, leaving $133,000 available.

The funds in the two grant programs comes from nearly $3.1 million provided by the state and $300,000 earmarked by the county to help businesses and nonprofits.

On Tuesday, Olmsted County commissioners on the county’s administrative committee approved shifting the unclaimed nonprofit grant funds to the business program overseen by Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.

Up to $132,000 in added contingency funds also will be available to ensure the county can cover all the qualified priority 1 and 2 applications, with businesses eligible to receive grants up to 50 percent of COVID-related revenue loss not to exceed $25,000 for priority 1 businesses and $20,000 for priority 2.

Roman-Catala said the latest report from RAEDI shows 83 businesses will qualify for $25,000 and 95 will qualify for $20,000 or less.

“In aggregate, these businesses employ approximately 1,000 individuals,” he said, adding that RAEDI is still working to confirm that all the applicants qualify for the program.

He said 20 to 25 businesses will have until Thursday to update paperwork before the final grant totals are known.

To qualify for the grants, the businesses are required to have a physical location in Olmsted County and be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State, without outstanding tax liens at time of application.