The Cass County Board met in special session to begin the process of application to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Downstate Stabilization Program. The board says that Triple Creek Farm Greenhouse; Siding Concepts, Incorporated; 4 All Seasons Flowers & Gifts; Conner Family Amusements, Incorporated; Hamann Electric; Ashland Diner; and The Sazarac Bar have all applied for the program.
Board Chairman Mike Barnett says that the Cass County Star Gazette had been approved by the board for the program and had sent in their application. Barnett says he received communication from DCEO this week that the newspaper doesn’t qualify because it is considered an essential business and doesn’t qualify for funding. Barnett says he plans on appealing the decision in writing.
County Clerk Shelly Wessel said during the meeting that the public hearing on the businesses’ applications need to be done by 1PM on May 1st so submission of the applications could be made to DCEO that day. Wessel says the mid-afternoon time would give her time to prepare official minutes and organize the applications prior to submission.
The board approved the 1PM public hearing notice. The notice will also be published in the Cass County Star Gazette in accordance with the program’s requirements. Dustin Fritsche, the program coordinator for community and economic development with the U of I Extension Office, says that businesses still can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program despite the program’s empty account at the current time. “The Paycheck Protection Program is likely to be funded in the near future. They are saying do not wait for the funding. Get your application into your lending institution now to be added to the queue. Don’t wait for the funding announcement. Anybody [on the board] that’s working with businesses that are looking for that or considering it, go ahead and encourage them to work with their preferred lending institution to get that application in as soon as possible.”
Kim Hance also told the board that the state’s Save Small Business Grant program through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had run out of funds by 2PM yesterday when it went live. The website crashed due to the flood of applications and many businesses reported that their applications weren’t able to be processed. The board will next meet in special session on Friday at 1PM to approve 3 more business applications to be sent to DCEO for the stabilization program.