Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Nearly instantly, the COVID-19 pandemic started wreaking havoc on native companies in Santa Fe, due partially to state-mandated restrictions or extra residents selecting to remain at dwelling for their very own security.
Tons of misplaced their jobs and 88 companies in Santa Fe shut their doorways for good within the first 5 months of the pandemic.
And regardless of the financial packages made out there to small companies, native governments have spent solely a tiny portion of financial aid cash up to now, leaving them lower than six weeks to spend the remainder.
Now – as circumstances and shutdowns skyrocket statewide – native companies have the possibility to cease a number of the monetary bleeding, even when solely quickly.
In September, town of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and city of Edgewood had been collectively awarded $3.6 million of Coronavirus Assist, Aid, and Financial Safety (CARES) Act funding by the state to distribute as grants to struggling native companies. Dozens have utilized up to now.
By means of this system, titled Small Enterprise and Nonprofit Stabilization Program companies inside Santa Fe County can now apply for a most of $15,000 in aid grants. Many have already got.
Alex Fitzgerald, an financial growth specialist for the county, mentioned town and county have methods in place to prioritize which companies obtain grants ought to functions exceed present funding.
Nonetheless, he additionally mentioned officers usually are not actually involved about that taking place. The truth is, there’s better concern that not all the $3.6 million will likely be spent in time.
Just like different CARES Act funds obtained by native governments, the small-business grants are topic to a Dec. 30 deadline, after which no extra may be distributed. Fitzgerald mentioned they’ve distributed $400,000 to 26 companies within the space up to now. Most obtained the total $15,000 as a part of that grant.
With lower than six weeks remaining and solely 11% of the funds allotted to companies, it’s unknown how a lot will go left unspent by the tip of the 12 months.
“We’re in the midst of it proper now,” Fitzgerald mentioned, including they nonetheless have one other 60 functions to type by means of.
Fitzgerald and Liz Camacho, who works for town’s Workplace of Financial Improvement, mentioned the first problem has been making extra companies conscious of the grants and that not sufficient have been making use of.
“It’s very a lot an actual concern for us,” Fitzgerald mentioned of not assembly the deadline.
With the state lately including extra restrictions and shutdowns on sure companies, there’s a perception that extra money will likely be allotted within the coming weeks, he mentioned.
The grants usually are not out there to each enterprise that applies. They will need to have fewer than 50 workers, an annual income lower than $2 million and a year-to-year income lack of at the least 25%.
All these necessities demand in depth quantities of paperwork and data in every utility, a not insignificant activity for a lot of.
Kim Brown, president of native nonprofit Woman’s Inc. of Santa Fe, isn’t any stranger to making use of for grants, which frequently requires a variety of work.
“I don’t assume any grant course of is often user-friendly,” she mentioned. “That was positively sophisticated, however not unusually sophisticated.”
With the intention to ease the appliance course of, officers have began internet hosting twice-a-week webinars – one in English, the opposite in Spanish – to reply questions from small-business house owners.
Woman’s Inc. of Santa Fe, which offers mentoring and academic alternatives for younger women within the space, has seen its income decline by $100,000 because the begin of the pandemic, as occasions corresponding to summer time camp needed to be postponed.
Brown mentioned the $15,000 in CARES Act funding they obtained, whereas not a long-term resolution, will principally go towards retaining employees members.
“It’s a sort of drop within the bucket … however I’m glad it’s going to small companies,” she mentioned.
Even a comparatively small quantity of $15,000 can go a great distance in serving to a enterprise.
Andre Wiltenburg, proprietor of Santa Fe Climbing Heart, mentioned his enterprise obtained the total $15,000 they utilized for and can apply it to his workers’ salaries.
“This cash is principally already spent,” he mentioned in a deadpan chuckle.
Like many companies, Wiltenburg’s needed to shut down utterly throughout the governor’s most up-to-date stay-at-home order. He mentioned membership dues and digital courses have helped throughout the pandemic, however that not having anybody within the climbing gymnasium does harm revenues.
“All of the loans have been spent … however we’re nonetheless struggling,” he mentioned, including he’s hoping extra loans or grants will likely be allotted to small companies.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced plans for a particular legislative session to happen this week, throughout which legislators are anticipated to offer some kind of monetary aid for companies struggling throughout the state.