9 Morgan County Business Apply For First Round of Downstate Business Stabilization Funding

By Benjamin Cox on May 7, 2020 at 9:25am

Nine Morgan County Businesses are submitting applications to the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. Mayor Andy Ezard announced 8 Jacksonville businesses had confirmed applications for the program at Monday night’s Jacksonville city council meeting. Dusty Douglas said 1 completed application had come from a county business at the Morgan County Commissioners meeting earlier in the day Monday. Both said they are hoping more businesses will take advantage of a second round of applications.

Kristin Jamison, President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, says that each business has a chance at getting $25,000 from the grant program. “This has been a long process. Lisa Musch [of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce] and I have really been trying to facilitate the program with Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard, Regional Planner Dusty Douglas, Melissa Hall in the City of Jacksonville’s Treasurer’s Office, as well as Bonnie Waters, my colleague here at the JREDC. We have been on a number of conference calls. Interestingly, while the program was unveiled a number of weeks ago, it’s taken a number of weeks to get the final rules put together. It’s been an interesting process, but I am excited that 9 area businesses that their applications will be put forth by the City of Jacksonville and Morgan County this week. We certainly hope that those businesses will receive some sort of funding.”

Jamison said that they have had many businesses inquire about the program but rules surrounding the re-purposed Department Housing & Urban Development funding excluded a number of possible applicants. Jamison says that the public hearing portion of the process in which businesses have to disclose financial information also turned a number of businesses away. “A number of businesses were very interested than the final number of 9. There were probably three times that many who had inquired for assistance, but in the end, didn’t meet the eligibility requirements.”

Jamison says that even with the new rules of the stay-at-home order, businesses effected by the original March 20th order can still apply. “In working with the group at the State of Illinois, my understanding is that we could put forth businesses who were deemed non-essential at the beginning of the stay-at-home order because they did experience a decline in revenue. While hopefully many business’ situations are changing, they still suffered that economic downturn and would be eligible for funding.”

Jamison says they have a wait list for businesses who were not able to get into the first round of applications because of the 7-day publication of the public hearing requirement. “That actually precluded some people from being able to be a part of the process because they didn’t indicate their interest early enough. We do have a waiting list of businesses who wanted to be a part of the process but did not contact us until after we had already taken the step forward in that publication process to be getting ready for the public forum. We are keeping that list of interested businesses, and Bonnie Waters for JREDC on behalf of the county and Melissa Hall at the City of Jacksonville Treasurer’s Office is working with those businesses now interested in a Round Two. We do know that the money is there – $20 billion funding, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

She says they hope to have the second round completed before the federal funding is allocated.