BI awards grants to 40 small businesses

The results of the Small Business Grant Recovery program were given to the Bainbridge Island City Council Tuesday, and less than half of those that applied were awarded due to unmet requirements.

City Finance director DeWayne Pitts said $200,000 was awarded to 40 businesses, or $5,000 each.

A total of 82 applications were submitted; 24 had data that was incomplete, had a business that was not located in commercial space or did not have an active Bainbridge business license, all required for the grant. Additionally, 18 were denied funding because their financial impact was less than a 23 percent revenue drop, another requirement.

Other requirements included having 50 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual revenue.

Pitts said the average revenue drop was about 50 percent for those that did get grants; 16 of those businesses had a revenue drop ranging from 51 percent to 75 percent, 12 from 36 percent to 50 percent, nine between 23 percent and 35 percent, and three over 76 percent.

33 businesses, or 83 percent that received funding, were closed for some portion of 2020. 13 were closed up to three months, six were closed over six months and seven didn’t close at all. 16 were food service and 10 were retail.

City documents state the program was intended to “provide relief for certain necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and to provide short-term economic stability via monetary grants to qualifying businesses physically located within city limits.”

Pitts said partnering Kitsap Economic Development Alliance has notified the businesses, and will try and get the funding out to the businesses as quickly as possible.

In other news:

• City staff ask for another six-month extension to the Landmark Tree Ordinance. A public hearing was set for June 8. They said more time is needed to work on tree and vegetation aspects of the law. The city first started working on the ordinance in 2018 so it would have interim official control over the preservation, protection and retention of landmark trees. It’s now been extended seven times. They are doing the work “because of their age, size and condition (landmark trees) are recognized as having exceptional value in contributing to the character of the community.” Planning director Heather Wright said after three years she hopes to have the law ready in July for adoption.

• Council approved putting no parking signs along Miller Road adjacent to the Grand Forest main parking area. Councilmember Christy Carr said safety is the issue as bicyclists have to ride in the road when cars are parked there, which is dangerous because of the vehicle speeds. City staff recommended adding bike lane symbols on both sides of road and formalizing off-shoulder parking in two nearby areas. The park district also has parking at Grand Forest East and Battle Point Park.

• Council agreed with the Ethics Board decision regarding former councilmember Kol Medina. The violation was disclosing information from an executive session. Councilmember Joe Deets reminded his colleagues about the nice things that were said about Medina when he resigned to take a job in Walla Walla. He also said Medina’s violation did not harm the city or benefit his former colleague in any way.

• Anne LeSage, emergency management coordinator, gave an overview of the city’s COVID-19 efforts. Authorized to spend $50,000, $31,200 was spent. It did an average of 63 tests a day, and identified 21 positive cases. She reported 85 percent of those 65 and older have been vaccinated. Looking ahead, LeSage said staff is looking forward to opening City Hall and returning to in-person services.

• City Manager Blair King said now that Gov. Jay Inslee has rescinded the mask mandate staff is developing a policy for city employees that will include not having to wear a mask unless coming in contact with the public.

• Council proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Pride Month.