Breckenridge plans another round of business rent relief open to all industries
Breckenridge Town Council is planning another round of rent relief for business owners in any industry who can show a certain amount of revenue loss over the course of the year.
The grant was discussed at a special council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 22, and is intended to be a bridge that helps to pay January rent before businesses can apply for the next installment of the Paycheck Protection Program.
The town so far has issued $356,000 in rent relief to 82 approved restaurants following its announcement of a grant in November. Town officials did not discuss further rent relief for individuals because Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes reported that the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, which was given Breckenridge rent relief funds, is spending federal dollars to provide relief to renters and has not yet had to use the Breckenridge money.
Town Manager Rick Holman pointed out that the federal pandemic relief bill, which was sent to President Donald Trump this week, includes the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program. While he said this will help local businesses, council members were in agreement that businesses needed to be supported with rent relief funding immediately because the federal process could be lengthy.
“Timing is imperative,” council member Dick Carleton said. “… I think people are really on the edge right now, and I think we need to get help as soon as possible to them.”
In a memo to council, Director of Finance Brian Waldes provided metrics to show the impact COVID-19 has had on the local economy based on net taxable sales from January through October. On one end of the table, the number of business owners whose net taxable sales were flat or increased amounted to 79 businesses with an increase of $8 million in sales. On the other end, 55 business owners saw a decrease of 40% or more, totaling a $14 million decrease in sales. The highest number of businesses, 95, experienced a 1% to 19% decrease in sales.
Carleton suggested focusing relief on businesses that experienced a decrease of 30% to 40% or more rather than businesses owners who have seen decreases of 20% or less. Council members agreed with requiring that a business has seen a certain amount of revenue decline to receive rent relief.
Council members discussed requiring businesses to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program before receiving a town grant, but given the unknown timing of that program, members settled on requiring business owners to sign an affidavit stating they will apply for federal funds in order to apply for the local relief.
Holman clarified that business owners will be able to apply for relief for rent or mortgage payments.
“The most important thing is to keep it as simple as we can and get the help to the people,” Carleton said.
Mayor Eric Mamula suggested a tiered approach to stretch the money, basing the amount of funding received on the businesses’ decrease in revenue. For example, businesses that have lost 50% of income could apply for $5,000 while businesses that have lost 30% could apply for $2,500.
“If we can hang onto as many (businesses) as possible and hit July full bore, we can make a lot of money back,” Mamula said. “I think our summer can be really good if we can control the loss of these businesses, so … I think the No. 1 priority for this council is to keep as many people solvent as possible to keep the engine running when we go back to normal.”
Holman said staff will organize the grant parameters given by council and estimate the cost. Council scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 29, to finalize the grant program.
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