BI grants to aid businesses hurt by COVID

The Bainbridge Island City Council approved a business recovery grant program that would provide $210,000 to support businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council has directed interim city manager Ellen Schroer to develop the program based on the guidelines presented by a subcommittee and modeled after similar programs enacted in Poulsbo, Bremerton and Port Orchard. The programs utilized grant resources provided by the Federal CARES program, which started March 1 and ended Dec. 31 in 2020. The city plans to use general fund balance reserves in lieu of federal grant monies.

The program is intended to provide relief for certain necessary expenditures incurred due to COVID and to provide short-term economic stability via grants. With the grants, qualified small businesses will be able to remain open and provide the city’s residents with jobs, services and/or goods. Since the city has limited resources, including limited personnel to administer the program,it will partner with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance to serve as grant administrator.

To be eligible applicants must:

*Be actively licensed and in good standing with the city.

*Have a physical commercial location in the city established on/or before March 1, 2020.

*Have no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees and annual gross revenues of up to $5 million.

*Be (and have been) in compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington recovery plan and previous similar Safe Start and other COVID related guidelines.

*Demonstrate negative financial impact due to COVID.

The grant application will be available at the KEDA, with a link from the city of Bainbridge Island’s website from March 1-17.