Crosslake businesses - and other businesses in Crow Wing County - that were forced to close by a governor’s executive order related to COVID-19 can still apply for up to $10,000 in grant funds from the county.

Tyler Glynn, of the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp., provided an update Monday, Oct. 12, to the Crosslake City Council on the Crow Wing County Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act program to provide grant funds to small businesses and nonprofits in the county.

In Crosslake, 15 businesses received preliminary approval to receive a total of $138,000, and final approval was expected from the county board Tuesday, Oct. 15. Eight Crosslake business applications were denied for not meeting the criteria.

Thirteen Pequot Lakes businesses’ applications were approved to receive $118,000, that council was told last week.

Glynn said more businesses are eligible to apply, and the county still has $2.4 million to spend. Businesses can receive up to $10,000, which means 240 more businesses in the county could receive funds if they meet criteria.

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“It’s a lot of money,” Glynn said.

A two-week application process was to reopen for more businesses to apply for funds.

During the first application period, from Aug. 17-Sept. 18, Glynn said the county allocated $3 million of its CARES Act money to small business grants and $1 million toward grants for nonprofits.

The county had asked cities and townships to pool some of their CARES Act funds with the county to provide help to businesses and nonprofits, and ended up with $3.6 million allocated to small business grants and $1.125 million in grants for nonprofits.

Criteria included that businesses and nonprofits had to be closed because of a governor's executive order.

To date, the county received 252 applications for for-profit businesses, and 182 applications received preliminary approval, and possibly final approval Tuesday, for funds totaling $1,760,173.

Fifty-eight nonprofits applied for funding, including five in Crosslake, Glynn said.

Mayor Dave Nevin suggested that Crosslake contribute $30,000 to the county program, taking $24,000 from Crosslake’s CARES Act funds designated for fire department turnout gear and $6,000 designated for an emergency operations center update at city hall.

“I’m worried we’re going to give money away and it’ll just sit, unless it comes back to us,” City Administrator Mike Lyonais said, noting the county is having a hard time getting rid of $2.4 million, so why give another $30,000?

Council member John Andrews agreed.

“A lot of people are proud Minnesotans and they haven’t gotten in line for it,” Nevin said, noting there are a lot of people who need help and they need to be made aware of the county program.

The council learned there is no requirement for a city to make a contribution for its businesses to receive grant funds.

The council ultimately agreed to give $5,000 to the county program, taking that sum from the $20,000 that was proposed to be spent on fire department turnout gear.

The council approved CARES Act expenditures totaling $49,894 for costs the city has incurred through September for COVID-19 related expenses.

Total funding the city received is $171,399.

The council may reduce the budget for next year by using CARES Act funds for fire department Armer Radios totaling $20,000 and a truck for the Parks and Recreation Department totaling $33,879. That could drop the tax levy by 1%.

Funds must be spent by Nov. 15.

Other CARES expenditures on the list included $41,000 for fire department turnout gear, payroll and personal protective equipment expenditures and $6,000 for the emergency operations center, among others.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.