Tracy Busch

The Henry County commissioners Tuesday approved more than $172,000 in grants through the Henry County Small Business Relief Program, which utilizes CARES Act funds. Henry County Emergency Management Agency Director Tracy Busch (pictured) is administering the grant for the county.

More than $172,000 in grants was approved Tuesday through the Henry County Small Business Relief Program, which utilizes CARES Act funds.

Henry County Emergency Management Agency Director Tracy Busch, who administered the grant program, met with the Henry County commissioners to review the applications for the grants. Small businesses meeting certain criteria — such as number of employees and annual revenue — could apply for up to $5,000 to help with COVID-19-related responses.

The applications were reviewed by Busch, the county health commissioner and county prosecutor and went before a committee for review. The committee recommended the approval of 39 applications totaling $172,516.45, which the commissioners approved Tuesday. Grant agreements will be drawn up by the county prosecutor prior to the funds being distributed.

Projects each receiving $5,000 in funds include Kinder Kampus, Klines Cold Keg, Inc., AESE Enterprise, The Hair Haus, Sunderman & Rode, CornCity Enterprise, Sing Giggle & Grin, RSV Welding, Patriot Bowl, Frey Clinic of Chiropractic, Pampered Pets, Kleeberger Contracting, Giesige Trucking, Napoleon Physical Therapy, Jay Sheeji, LLC, Color Me Floral, Brian O. Dotson II, LLC, Wildcat Barber, RAK Plumbing & Heating, County Side Flowers & Gifts, Liberty’s Guardian, Fall FX, Inc., Hogrefe Construction, Turkeyfoot Investments, LLC, Rivercity Lawn and Stump Removal Service.

Additional projects approved for funding included: Suber Metal Spinning, $4,250; Hill’s Family Restaurant, $600; ALV Industries, LLC, $4,200; Riverview Frosty, $2,600; My Image Salon & Tanning, $3,373.02; Kristina Kryder, $2,250; L.J. Hair Co., $3,370; Legends Barbershop, $4,850.33; Blush Mountain, $3,500; Napoleon License Bureau, $3,410.61; Like Plumbing & Heating, $4,485.49; Busch Orchard, $4,627; and Brooks Marketing, $1,000.

Two applications were withdrawn prior to the committee review, and two other projects were withdrawn due to paperwork not submitted on time. One other project was disqualified because it exceeded the $1 million revenue limit.

The grant program was announced earlier this month, with the county commissioners pledging approximately $200,000 of its CARES Act funding to start the program. Villages or townships which do not need their full allotment of their CARES Act funding could choose to put some or all of their designated funds into the grant program as well, which will raise the overall amount available to go to businesses.

Busch and the commissioners thanked the individuals on the committee for their time and work reviewing the applications. Busch noted there was a learning curve for the program and there will be adjustments if a second round of funding is received from the state.

Joel Miller, executive director of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce and chair of the grant committee that reviewed the applications, said they are hopeful they will receive more applications from businesses if a second round is possible.

“There was so much up in the air about this ... as we learned our way through what was acceptable, what was not, what was part of the grant money that could be spent, I think we have a much better handle on it,” Miller said. “What we really learned is what really qualifies and what we can and can’t do, so we think it will be even more open to more businesses.”

Miller added he feels the process will become more streamlined if another round is possible, adding he feels more people will apply for subsequent rounds when word spreads from the first round of recipients, including the ease of the process.

Busch said, based on the bare minimum of local government funds, the county’s share for the next round should be approximately $1.09 million, but they are still waiting on official legislative action to distribute the funds.

Busch noted the need that local businesses have could also depend on the direction the state is heading regarding COVID-19 as cases have continued to rise.

“Another portion of this is really going to depend on what happens in the next two or three weeks in the State of Ohio,” Busch said. “We may have some more businesses having economic hardships due to changes in the health orders or the environment or all the different variables you can throw against the wall for COVID-19, and that may affect businesses and their bottom line.”

In other matters, the commissioners:

•Approved utilizing the Child, Family and Adult Community and Protective Services allocation for child protective services in the amount of $25,773.89 to support PCSA activities.

•Approved transferring $1,000 from the public assistance fund to public children’s services agency for PRC services.

•Approved transferring $720.86 from the public assistance fund to public children services agency fund for kinship caregiver services.

•Held an executive session for security matters. No action was taken.

Thursday’s agenda includes Henry County Veteran Service Officer Brent Bischoff at 9 a.m. regarding Memorial Day; Henry County Board of Elections at 9:30 a.m. regarding planning for the General Election; and an executive session at 10 a.m. regarding compensation of personnel.

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