COVID-19 coronavirus

An illustration shows the structure of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. (Illustration courtesy U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention)

Anoka County will use coronavirus relief funds to support businesses, nonprofits and public safety.

The county received almost $43.4 million from the federal coronavirus relief bill, and the Board of Commissioners approved a number of purchases as well as two grant programs Tuesday, July 28.

The county is dispensing $5 million to businesses as grants. Another $1 million will go specifically to nonprofits.

“The idea behind this program is ultimately to help our businesses and nonprofits,” Economic Development Specialist Jacquel Hadjer said.

Business grants will not exceed $10,000 and are intended to cover expenses related to the pandemic incurred after March 1. Eligible uses of grant funds include commercial leases or mortgages, reopening costs, safety improvements and payroll unless the company received Paycheck Protection Program funds or pandemic unemployment insurance to assist with paying employees.

To be eligible companies must be locally owned and located in Anoka County. They must be in good standing, employ 50 or less people and be in operation for at least 12 months prior to application.

A business is not eligible if it is a multistate chain — except locally-owned franchises — or if it is a home-based business, excepting in-home licensed child care. Businesses that derive income from gambling or adult entertainment or passive investments such as property rentals also are not eligible.

Nonprofits will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 under a similar county program. They may receive funds if they are locally owned and are a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19).

Under either program, businesses and nonprofits will not be allowed to pay taxes or government utilities or fees using the money.

Final grant decisions will be made following a review of all application factors, according to county documents.

Commissioners also approved a number of resolutions to purchase items totaling almost $1.7 million, ranging from protective equipment to a mobile command post.

The new mobile command post will cost $500,000. The vehicle will be used for public health services, which could include mobile vaccinations or setting up teams in the community when responding to the coronavirus or future pandemics, Chair Scott Schulte said. Another $500,000 was approved to purchase tele-work equipment for the county.

Up to $450,000 of the money will be used for personal protective equipment, and $250,000 was authorized for the installation of multimedia audio/video equipment for video conferencing in the Anoka County Government Center.

Commissioners approved $160,000 for purchasing additional e-books for the county library due to increasing demand.

The board also approved $100,000 for a UV-light disinfection system for the Anoka County Jail.

More information on the county’s plan can be found in the county administration section at anokacounty.us.

connor.cummiskey@apgecm.com

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