HERMANN — Gasconade County’s small businesses can tap into a special loan program created by the County Commission aimed at helping them with the cost of dealing with the …
HERMANN — Gasconade County’s small businesses can tap into a special loan program created by the County Commission aimed at helping them with the cost of dealing with the coronavirus.
Under the program approved Thursday, some businesses can apply for loans up to $50,000 while other companies can seek assistance up to $30,000. Businesses with 20 or more employees can apply for up to $50,000 while the lesser maximum amount of $30,000 is available to businesses of 20 or fewer employees.
County administrators have set aside $700,000 of the $1.725-million CARES Act money received by Gasconade County as part of the $2.2-trillion coronavirus relief fund approved by Congress in March.
Gasconade County is following the lead of Dent and Washington counties, which jointly are providing $800,000 for small business loans.
The loan program will be administered by the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), headquartered in St. James in Phelps County. MRPC has contracted with seven of the eight counties within the Meramec Region to administer the counties’ CARES Act money being used to reimburse local government entities for costs associated with dealing with the virus, such as reimbursing the costs of disinfectants, some newly created positions specifically dealing with the virus and personal protective equipment.
Counties have until Dec. 30 to use the CARES Act money, although MRPC has set a Dec. 20 deadline for public entities to submit requests for reimbursement. Any remaining money must be returned to the federal government.
In adopting the small-business loan program, the County Commission agreed with MRPC’s policy that none of the CARES Act money can be used for salaries and benefits.
In addition to private businesses, the loan program also makes funding available to non-profit organizations. Non-profit groups are facing a maximum loan amount of $25,000.
Businesses and organizations may apply for any amount of the maximum allowed. They may also apply for additional rounds of loans until they reach the maximum amount allowed.
Loan applications will be made directly to MRPC, not to county government; the regional planning agency will provide the businesses and organizations with the details of what can be covered by the funds. “It’s all being done through MRPC,” said County Clerk Lesa Lietzow. “MRPC will provide each business (and organization) with all the criteria” regarding the use of the money.
Representatives of the Owensville Arts Council were on hand Thursday to ask about a loan program and the commissioners used that inquiry to springboard into the discussion of creating the program. Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, a week earlier had asked Associate Commissioners Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, and Jim Holland, R-Hermann, to consider establishing a loan program and be ready to take action when the administrative panel convened for last Thursday’s session.
Meanwhile, on another coronavirus front, retired Circuit Court Associate Judge John B. Berkemeyer was pressed into service to handle Associate Judge Ada Brehe-Krueger’s docket last week while she remained in self-quarantine after it was announced that a person appearing in her court on July 7 had tested positive for the virus.
That court action also sent a deputy sheriff into quarantine, as well as a deputy circuit clerk who was in the courtroom during the proceeding. That was the only case heard in the courtroom that day.
Yesterday (Tuesday) was the day the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department was set to return to full service in responding to 911 calls. Response had been curbed to certain calls for several days because of the deputy sheriff being quarantined and the decision to send home as a precautionary move another deputy sheriff who had a fever. The deputy who was quarantined was set to return to work July 21, which allowed the Sheriff’s Department to return to normal response of 911 calls.
Sheriff Mark W. Williams was not on hand for the County Commission session, nor did the county administrators discuss the sheriff’s decision to scale back the response to 911 calls while the deputy was on quarantine.