While Buena Vista has been reporting strong tourist traffic through the summer, many brick-and-mortar businesses in town suffered from the spring shutdown. As the off season moves in, the Town of Buena Vista says it wants to help those businesses keep their footing.
Buena Vista has allocated $130,000 of its CARES Relief funding to help local businesses navigate the slower season. The grants, ranging from $3,500 to $7,500, will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis to storefront businesses within town limits. The plan was announced to the public Thursday. The program is not offered to mobile, home-based or e-commerce vendors.
“We’re already getting applications as of today,” said Town Administrator Phillip Puckett on Friday. “It’ll be great to see the money moving.”
Puckett said part of the challenge is to assist as many businesses as possible while allocating amounts that are beneficial.
He noted that in order to serve the unique needs of nonprofit elements, the Chaffee County Community Foundation is coordinating a new coronavirus relief fund for nonprofits and youth/childcare programs. As previously reported in the Ark Valley Voice, this entails reimbursement for COVID-19 costs and lost fundraising revenue associated with COVID-19.
Key provisions of Buena Vista’s small business program are:
- Businesses must be able to provide their COVID-19 Safe Business Certificate issued by Chaffee County Public Health or detail why one is not available.
- Owner(s) of the business must reside within Chaffee County.
- A business must be in good standing with the Town of Buena Vista, which includes current sales tax remittances and a current business license.
- Awards are limited to the lesser of the grant floor of $3,500, the maximum grant of $7,500 or the amount of the 2.5% town sales tax paid during 2019.
- Businesses that are not sales-tax based may qualify for a grant of at least $3,500.
- There must be a reasonable expectation that the business will remain open with no evidence of eviction or foreclosure.
- Business owners must provide a narrative of how COVID-19 has impacted business and how they intend to use the grant funds to help ensure stability during the unpredictable off-season.
- A business has been open for at least two years.
- Seasonal operations and businesses that have been open fewer than two years will have secondary priority to businesses that are open year-round and more than two years.
- The Town of Buena Vista reserves the right to alter, cancel or discontinue this program at any time. The CARES funding grant ends on Dec. 31, 2020.
Application and award process:
- A completed application plus pertinent attachments should be emailed to the Town of Buena Vista Finance department at BVFinance@buenavistaco.gov or mailed/dropped off to: Buena Vista Town Hall P.O. Box 2002, 210 East Main St., Buena Vista, CO 81211
- Applications will be processed in the order which they are received. Each application will be reviewed for eligibility and grant funds will be issued in the form of a check until Dec. 31, 2020 or funds are exhausted.
- On Oct. 15, (providing there are funds remaining) the “secondary priority” applications (Seasonal or in business fewer than two years) will be funded in the order in which they were originally received.
- COVID-19 Safe Business Certificate or application or detail as to why one is not available
- Signed W-9 (can be located at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf )
- Copy of Colorado Sales Tax License (if applicable)
- Copy of Buena Vista Business License
Note: Grant awards may be considered taxable income. Grantees will receive an IRS Form 1099 for the funds at the end of this reporting year and should consult with their tax professional to determine whether the grant award is considered taxable income. A signed W-9 form is a required component of an application. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf