The Gonzales Economic Development Corporation set a deadline of June 15 for local businesses to apply for COVID-19 Business Grants.
The GEDC board of directors set the deadline during its meeting March 27, which was only accessible to the public via teleconference due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. The board itself met together in person for the first time since March.
“This is really important for local businesses to know,” said GEDC President Andy Rodriguez.
The financial assistance package was approved in April to help Gonzales businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses can apply to receive $1,500 per “FTE unit” or “full time equivalent” with the maximum cap of $12,000.
A second deadline was set for June 22 for the GEDC to review and approve the grants. Applicants who make the June 15 deadline will have through June 22 to supply additional documentation or answer any questions the GEDC board may have.
In an interview after the meeting, Rodriguez said the GEDC had received 68 applications, seven of which were still under review. The first checks were given out on Monday, June 1.
“We set aside a half a million dollars for this project,” he said. “$278,000 and some change is what we’ve got committed so far in these grants.”
To apply for the COVID-19 Business Grants, email interim Executive Director Kim Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit gonzalesedc.org to download an application.
Budget impacted by COVID-19
The board of directors held a workshop and got their first look at the corporation’s 2020-2021 budget. Setting the budget will be very difficult due to declining tax revenues from closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve lost sales tax,” interim Executive Director Kim Tucker told the board at the meeting.
She said the state runs about two months behind in distributing sales taxes to local governments, so it will be two more months before Gonzales begins to see just how much revenue has actually fallen.
“I’m hoping that in the next couple of months we’ll have a better feel for sales tax,” she said.
She said the last disbursements made would be for February, the month before the state started closing down.
Conference center coming
The board discussed a $33,200 grant to Ace Invest, LLC for improvements at 608 St. Paul St., which will be converted into a conference center managed by the Alcalde Hotel next door. The grant was approved during a special meeting of the board on Monday. The funds are to be used for unforeseen costs related to bringing the building up to modern building codes, including a sprinkler system.
“This conference center will be a welcome addition to our downtown because, currently, we don’t have such a venue in downtown Gonzales,” Rodriguez said.
The Alcalde Group will serve as the contractor for renovation.
In other action, the board named Rodriguez as the new registered agent for the GEDC and authorized his registration with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.