The Pasco County Commission on May 4 provided $5 million more in funding for small business grants — bringing the total to $7 million — to help small businesses that have been struggling because of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is coming from Penny for Pasco funds, which are generated through a voter-approved additional 1 cent in sales tax revenues to help cover identified Pasco County needs. A portion of that funding was earmarked for economic development.
Commissioners have been working with the Pasco Economic Development Council Inc., a nonprofit agency that focuses on attracting new businesses to Pasco, and helping existing businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis, as businesses were forced to close to reduce the potential spread of the deadly virus.
As a result, business revenues have plummeted and scores of the businesses that have been shuttered might be closed for good.
Commissioners have been working with the Pasco EDC, which has administered the grant program.
Commissioners approved $2 million initially, with grants of up to $5,000 for qualifying businesses.
But, that $2 million fell far short of the need, with more than 1,400 companies applying for the grants within the first 24 hours.
Out of the first 450 applications received, 405 qualified for a total of $1,965,000 in grants, according to the Pasco EDC.
The additional funding is expected to provide funding for the remaining qualifying companies, among those who have already submitted applications.
Published May 20, 2020