The details on how $94,085 in CARES Act business relief funds are going to be distributed in Corning is being ironed out by city staff in preparation for the Sept. 22 City Council meeting.

During the previous meeting the council approved allowing city staff to work with 3CORE to help develop a program to administer the micro-grants to businesses in town impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

City Manager Kristina Miller said Butte County had developed a lottery system for distribution of grants funds that 3CORE suggests the city consider.

Qualifying Corning businesses will have to apply for the funds which may be distributed in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $500 depending on the businesses COVID-19-related losses.

“We have to develop an administration program that is fair to all applicants,” Miller said.

Corning resident Dean Cofer, a member of Masons, said his club has been administering grants to coronavirus-impacted businesses in Tehama County.

“I suggest a different way,” he said. “Distribute the funds in lesser amounts, that way more businesses will receive a grant. I think the top amount should be $3,000 and on down.”

Suggested program guidelines included non-profits not allowed to apply (there is a separate program for non-profits), business must have less than 10 employees, established before March 15, have a valid business license, and located within city limits.

Additional proposed criteria includes applying businesses must attest they are in compliance with all COVID-19 orders.

Applying businesses may be required to submit a description of how it has, or plans to, pivot in order to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic world.

Miller said the administration and distribution of funds deadline is Dec. 31.

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