Local governments were awarded funding to help offset their unexpected costs created by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to help out local businesses.

According to a press release, $178 million was allocated for this funding, and applications went out for the governments to apply.

“$28 million is available for tribal government grants and $150 million is available for city and county grants,” the release said. “These funds can cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency for the period beginning on March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020. $50 million of the local government allocation is designated for the establishment of local grant programs to support small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The local government grant program will also enable cities and counties to make more child care options available for parents whose children’s school schedules have been impacted by the health emergency.”

Tijeras Village Clerk Hallie Brown said the village applied for both the direct local government grant, and the grant for small businesses via local government, and was awarded both.

Tijeras was awarded $67,500 for the local government, and $11,183 for small businesses, according to the press release.

“We were told by Department of Finance and Administration what we received yesterday,” Brown said. “It looks like they kind of cut everyone’s requests by a third or a half, as far as municipalities and counties go.”

The press release said that the amount requested from the local governments “exceeded the funds made available by the federal government; awards were therefore prorated based on need as articulated by the entity’s application. All requests for amounts less than $50,000 for direct local government grants were awarded in full.”

Brown said the Village of Tijeras is still in the process of making an application for local businesses to apply for the funding.

Mountainair Mayor Peter Nieto said the town was awarded $50,000 for the local government, and the release from the office of the Governor said the town was also awarded $74,273 for small businesses.

“$43,000 [of the $50,000] has already been spent,” he said. “That was spent on PPE, on the safety measures we installed. That’s like the safety glass, the transaction window for town hall, all that kind of stuff.”

According to the press release, criteria for eligible expenses for the local government grants are as follows: “small business continuity grants, child care assistance, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) required to conduct government business, expenses incurred to mitigate the spread—sanitizing, public service announcements, public health and safety personnel costs, senior programs, corrections, police, fire and EMS.”

Nieto said the local business grant money is reimbursement money, and the businesses will have to apply through the town.

“Let’s say for instance we have the Mustang Diner,” he said. “Let’s just say they were awarded $1,000 just for this purpose. They would bring to us the documentation on what they spent it on, because it’s supposed to be spent on [things] that were used for operating. So that could include rent, mortgage, payroll, utilities, anything that kept them in business during the shutdown … We get the documentation, the proof, we send that as a town to DFA, and then they will reimburse us, which then we will reimburse the business.”

Edgewood Deputy Clerk Carla Salazar said the town applied for the local government grant and partnered with Santa Fe County and the city of Santa Fe for the small business grant.

Edgewood was awarded $50,000 for local governments, while Santa Fe County was awarded $10.5 million.

The town, the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County combined were awarded $3.8 million to support local businesses.

“We’ll have to come up with an application and a program to make [funding] available for small businesses to apply and be awarded some grant funding,” Salazar said. “We have to come up with a program so that’s something all three entities will be working on together, what the application will look like, how we’ll get it out to the small businesses in our community and what the criteria will be for them apply and receive these funds.”

Eligible expenses for the small businesses include non-owner employee payroll, rent, scheduled mortgage payments, insurance, utilities, marketing, business redesign, installing plexiglass barriers, purchasing web-conferencing or other technology to facilitate work-at-home, PPE for employees, and temporary structures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Salazar said Edgewood, Santa Fe County, and the city of Santa Fe couldn’t move forward with the applications for small businesses until they knew exactly what they had been awarded, but now that they have that information, they will move as quickly as they can to get the money to the businesses.

Moriarty City Clerk Sheila Larrañaga-Murphy said the city is still in the process of applying for the CARES Act funding and anything not paid by FEMA funding will go on the application for the CARES Act funding.

The Independent reached out to representatives for the town of Estancia and Torrance County, but were unavailable to reach anybody for comment.

According to the press release, Estancia was awarded $19,429 for the local government and Torrance County was awarded $116,594 for the same.

Felecia Pohl
Felecia Pohl