PALMER — The Palmer City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 20-017 to distribute the $7,566,546.24 in CARES funds from the federal government through six different programs.
After the United States Congress passed the CARES act on March 27, the Palmer council approved ordinance 20-015 to accept the funds on May 26. Palmer City Manager John Moosey detailed the ways that Palmer residents can apply for the CARES grants.
The largest component of the city of Palmer’s CARES grant distribution is $3 million for small business CARES grants for any brick and mortar business inside the city.
“We have made this as simple as possible. I think this program fits our folks perfectly. We made it quick and easy and we have an advantage because we do have business licenses,” said Moosey.
Councilman Richard Best inquired about if businesses outside the city of Palmer would be able to accept CARES funding from both the city of Palmer and the Mat-Su Borough. Moosey said that the business licenses show physical locations as not to duplicate any funds. Palmer residents will also be eligible to apply for two nonprofit CARES grants. The council set aside $350,000 for non competitive nonprofit grants up to $10,000 and also set aside $400,000 for competitive grants. Those businesses that apply for competitive grants must have over $500,000 in annual revenues and will not be eligible for the noncompetitive grants.
Recipients of the competitive grants will be announced to the council in August. Any brick and mortar business inside the city limits of Palmer with up to 50 employees that suffered a 10 percent loss or greater during the COVID-19 pandemic may apply between July 20 and July 31 for small business grants.
“My commitment to you and the citizens is we will not return a dime of this,” said Moosey.
The other three portions of CARES funds distributed by the city of Palmer will not be expended immediately. With $1 million set aside for city utilities subsidization, $300,000 for city mitigation expenditures and the remaining $2,516,546.24 categorized as city resiliency and recovery, Moosey said that those three portions will not be spent until further guidance is issued.
“With these three items we will be engaging with an external auditor to make sure that our expenditures meet the expectation that this grant money has. There is a caveat though because they are working on two senate bills that would give us some flexibility and time on how we could spend the money,” said Moosey.