Business

Area cities seeking more funding for small businesses

City officials continue to pursue microloans and grants to help support local small businesses as the effects of the pandemic wreak havoc with owners, Creswell City Manager Michelle Amberg said this week. 

She said 10 cities in urban and rural Lane County collaborated to put up $625,000 in microloans; Creswell contributed $50,000, the equivalent of an unfilled full-time position this past fiscal year. 

The City Council originally authorized a $30,000 contribution during a Monday, May 11 public meeting. The money came from the City’s Planning & Economic Development budget. RAIN Oregon served as an advisor for Creswell during the process. 

The hope was that the cities would receive a 1:1 match, however, only $100,000 was matched. Creswell’s take was $7,407, bringing its total loan budget to $57,407. Community Lending Works will manage the loan process.

Springfield and Eugene each received a $15,000 match – 15% of their contributions. Cottage Grove received an $11,852 match and Veneta received a $2,963 match. Lowell received the smallest match, 0.74% of its stake, which came to a $741 match.

The city manager said she’s going after a federal block grant of $150,000, too. “When we know about funding opportunities and we qualify, we’re going for it,” Amberg said. 

The block grant has specific, “heavy federal” requirements, she said, and only Veneta and Creswell qualified to apply. Veneta, under-staffed at the moment, declined to apply during this first round of funding. That means Creswell is the “lead agency” in the application process, and timing is on the City’s side. Amberg noted that the City has just completed all of the necessary materials for a housing rehabilitation application that can serve as the grant application. 

Both the microloans that will be managed through CLW and the potential block grant money currently prohibit recipients of Paycheck Protection Plan or CARES Act money to apply.