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King George offers small business grants, help with employee child care

King George offers small business grants, help with employee child care

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King George County is setting aside 10 percent of its CARES Act funding, or $234,000, for grants for small businesses and will accept applications for a week, starting Wednesday and ending Aug. 19.

Small businesses in the county have altered their hours, spaces and lifestyles to remain open and competitive, said Nick Minor, King George’s director of economic development and tourism.

“For the majority of the crisis, our small businesses have gone at it alone,” Minor said. “This grant is the county’s way of chipping in to help them through these troubling times.”

Grants range from $4,000 to $10,000 and do not have to be paid back, Minor said. They are being administered through the Economic Development Authority and will be based on the number of people employed as of March 1. Those applying must be in compliance with King George County taxes, fees and regulations.

If there are more requests than money available, there will be a random drawing to determine who gets the grants, according to the county. Those interested can call 540/775-9181 or email Minor at nminor@co.kinggeorge.state.va.us.

King George will use the rest of its first allotment of $2.3 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act, to cover payroll for public safety workers, purchases needed to deal with the pandemic and child care expenses for school, county and Service Authority employees when school starts.

The Board of Supervisors decided on the allocations during a work session last week and plans to meet with the School Board to go over its request for $1 million in financial assistance from the act. King George also is getting $2.3 million in a second allotment from the federal government.

Elementary school-age children of county and Service Authority workers will be housed in a program at the Citizens’ Center and cared for by staff with the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Children of school workers will be set up at the King George YMCA.

Together, the child care will cover nine weeks and cost $244,500, according to the county. The goal is to assist young children with virtual learning and “not have the kids play all day and go home to employees who have worked hard” and then have to help with their schooling, said Chris Clarke, Parks & Rec director.

During a recent conference call for elected officials, Supervisor Annie Cupka expressed the need for more funding measures for schools, particularly to cover child care costs.

“I have heard personally from a number of school staff members who are considering quitting their jobs due to lack of child care,” she said, adding she noted there will be a great need for services, such as mental health, for children who have gone without them since March.

Almost two-thirds of King George’s first allotment, or $1.5 million, will be spent on salaries of fire and rescue workers and law-enforcement officers. Another $492,174 will cover purchases the county made, such as for personal protective equipment, thermometers and upgrading equipment so board meetings could be streamed online. The county also provided laptops for workers when the state suggested as many people telework as possible.

King George staff put up plexiglass partitions to protect workers and visitors in county offices and will spend $14,357 of CARES Act money to replace the temporary shields with permanent glass barriers. Supervisors decided to leave $66,435 in contingency for unexpected expenses.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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