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Carroll County to dole out more than $600K in relief for restaurants; few applications submitted for nonprofit relief

Carroll County restaurants and food trucks adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have another opportunity to apply for relief in the form of state funding to be distributed by the county.

The Board of Commissioners have approved guidelines for the Maryland Relief Act of 2021 funding, which will award $612,281.26 to Carroll County food and beverage providers.

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The Restaurant and Caterers COVID Relief Grant Program is designed to support Carroll County food and beverage providers facing continued financial impacts from COVID-19, according to a news release from Carroll County government.

Director of Economic Development Jack Lyburn told the commissioners during Thursday’s open session that 149 restaurants had applied for the last round of funding. Unlike some grants that direct money for specific purposes, there is flexibility with this funding.

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“You can use it for payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, information technology, marketing, employee training, commercial cleaning, professional services, vehicle equipment expense … so this is wide open,” Lyburn said.

Initially, the plan is for restaurants with 10 or more employees to receive $8,000, restaurants with fewer than 10 employees to receive $4,000 and food trucks to receive $3,000.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, asked Lyburn if he expected enough restaurants and food trucks would apply so that all of the funding would be put to use. “I just don’t want any money sitting around,” he said.

Lyburn indicated that because of the interest shown in previous grants, he expected that would not be a problem.

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All application information, including terms, eligibility, and qualification criteria, in addition, to fund uses, required documentation and grant dollar amounts are available on the Department of Economic Development’s website.

To apply, businesses should submit a complete and accurate application with all required supporting documentation online starting Tuesday, April 20 at noon and ending on Friday, April 30 at 4 p.m.

“Our Carroll food and beverage establishments contribute immensely to our great quality of life and ongoing tourism efforts to attract visitors to Carroll,” Lyburn said in a news release from Carroll County government.

Any establishment with a commercial kitchen, such as fire companies or service organizations, are eligible, Lyburn said.

He also brought the commissioners up to date on the status of other relief grants currently open.

There is $278,000 available to hotels and the plan was to give out $25,000 apiece to Carroll establishments. But Lyburn told the commissioners only two of 10 in Carroll have applied.

He said they have received 10 application for an online sales telemarketing grant, of which $13,958 is available and likely will be given out in $1,000 increments.

There is also, he said, some $557,000 available to nonprofits. Thus far, only nine applications have been received. Lyburn said there are a number of grants available for nonprofits right now, which is perhaps why so few applications for this one are coming into the county.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz asked if the parameters for funding this time around for nonprofits was the same as previous grants, that made organizations without employees ineligible.

“We have quite a few in the county that don’t have any employees but yet were unable to have any type of revenue coming in as a result of COVID,” he said. “I sure would like to see some of these nonprofits that don’t have employees, that couldn’t raise money get a piece of this pie.”

Lyburn said the parameters are the same as before.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to expend this whole [$557,000]. And after that, I think we need to go back and revisit and see if we can change some of the criteria,” Lyburn said. “I don’t know if we can, but if we still have a lot of money left over, we’re going to try.”

All guidelines and information about Carroll County grant opportunities are located on the Carroll County Department of Economic Development website at www.carrollbiz.org. For more information, email info@carrollbiz.org.

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