BURRILLVILLE – A program that aims to help town businesses recover financial losses from the pandemic is soon set to expire – and thousands of dollars will remain unclaimed if more business owners don”t apply.
The Burrillville Town Council allocated $250,000 from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act Funding to a new, “Small Business Recovery Grant Program.” To be eligible for the one-time award, businesses must have been located in Burrillville as of July 1, 2022, and must have suffered a loss in profits due to COVID-19.
A brief, one-page application for the grant – to be paid directly to the beneficiaries – asks for a short description of the business and how it was negatively affected. Applicants are asked their one year revenue loss and the amount of the grant requested.
“The Burrillville Town Council recognizes that the majority of Burrillville residents are employed by small businesses and small businesses are vital to the wellbeing of the town,” notes a write up on the program. “These businesses operate in a wide range of sectors. Town officials believe that the vast majority of local businesses have been impacted by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
Businesses are divided into three categories, with Class A, with an annual revenue of up to $1 million, eligible for up to $2,500 or 100 percent of their losses; Class B with revenue of $1 million to $5 million up to $5,000, or 75 percent of their losses; and Class C with revenue of more than $5 million up to $10,000 or 50 percent of their losses.
The program has been open since November, and according to Town Planner Raymond Goff, with less than one month remaining, only a small number of applications have come in.
“We have, to date, only ten applications, which is a much lower response rate than we anticipated,” said Goff. “I am thinking that between businesses being too busy and getting the word out we have not hit our mark.”
A similar program targeting the Burrillville’s non-profits with a portion of the town’s roughly $5 million in federal APRA funding awarded many applicants funding of up to $10,000 last year.
The business grant program does require applicants to be listed in the Burrillville Business Directory, but the stipulation shouldn’t be a setback. Businesses can register to be listed in the directory by filling out a quick online form available here.
The deadline to apply for the grant is Monday, May 1, at which point Goff said a committee will review the applications and disburse the funding.
Goff said it is unclear what will happen to remaining funds if more businesses don’t come forward to apply.
“It could just go back into the pot for use in other ways,” Goff said. “We also could extend the grant period, but that may not result in much greater impact.”
“At this point we are hopeful that businesses realize that there is an opportunity for some help from the town,” he said.
The application can be found here. Once completed, the form can be emailed to Planning@burrillville.org, or hand-delivered to the Town Clerk’s office at Burrillville Town Hall or the Planning Office at the Town Hall Annex.