The Bent County Business Relief Fund contains about $19,000 reserved for aiding local businesses with expenses incurred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that funding is available now to businesses in Bent County.
Director Sammie George at the Bent County Development Foundation told the Bent County Democrat that local businesses can apply online for up to $1,000 each from the relief fund at https://bentcounty.org/bc-business-relief-fund.
"They apply through the website or if they need a paper copy they can get one from me here at the office," George told the newspaper. "The main thing is that they submit their application and then they turn in bills that they've paid starting as early as April 1 of this year. Those expenses can be reimbursed.
"The businesses that had to shut down for a couple months, they were still having to pay their electric bill or their air conditioning bill or anything like that, those expenses are reimbursable through this grant."
The relief fund has already went through three rounds and three deadlines, but during that period it contained less funds. Now that the development foundation has secured extra funding through grants, George wants local businesses to take advantage of the relief opportunity. She said although local businesses are struggling under recent essential-work-only orders, not many have sought assistance in the relief fund.
"Businesses seem to be struggling but we've had very little response. I have the money available," said George. "My goal is to discourse the entire grant funding, there's nothing being held back or used for administrative costs through Bent County Development Foundation. We're not keeping any of that funding, we want to get it out to our businesses. We're just really encouraging response and people to submit their applications."
Once a business submits their application, George said she follows up with them to make sure they are submitting everything they need. The application asks for business contact information, for info regarding whether a business has made recent layoffs, in what ways are the business struggling through the pandemic, and other basic questions. George noted the application wasn't very long.
"Our businesses are important to us," said George. "This is the foundation's way of showing our support back to community businesses. We want to provide this support to them so they can remain in our community and continue to provide us goods and services that we are reliant on.
According to the Bent County Development Foundation's website, "applications are currently being accepted on a roll-in basis, which means you can submit your application at any time for consideration as long as funding is available. Businesses are eligible to re-apply for funding as long as funding is available."
The website also points out that businesses cannot claim expenses submitted with previous applications.
Contributions to the fund are also welcome, said George.
To inquire about applying or for more information one can visit the Bent County Development Foundation relief page at https://bentcounty.org/bc-business-relief-fund; or, one can contact Director Sammie George by phone at 456-0452 or email at email@example.com.
Tribune-Democrat reporter Christian Burney can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support local journalism by subscribing to the La Junta Tribune-Democrat at lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/subscribenow.