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The City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department (LCEDD) was awarded more than $5.4 million earlier this month from a federal CARES Act Small Business Continuity Grant Program for FY2021 to help the city provide reimbursement funding to small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency.
The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) must approval all eligible expenses before grant awards to business can be made under the program, LCEDD Director Griselda Martinez said. For any funding request, DFA is requiring the city to have invoices and receipts to prove the expenses incurred.
The maximum award is $10,000, with award amounts based on the number of eligible applicants demonstrating hardship from the more than 3,000 registered businesses in the city and in consideration of the $5.4 million in total funding available, Martinez said. As a result, final award amounts may be significantly less than $10,000.
Eligible expenses under the program include non-owner employee wages, vendor bills, rent, mortgage payments, marketing, outdoor-dining expenses, sanitization supplies, PPEs and utility costs.
The DFA scoring matrix for awarding grants will evaluate: the number of full-time equivalent employees on Feb. 29 and the current number; the Impact of COVID-19 on the business’ 2020’s revenue; if the business is owned by a socially disadvantaged group, i.e., veterans, minority, women; if the business was included in the New Mexico COVID-19 shutdown order or curtailed as a result of the order; the business’ current percentage of capacity of opening; and if the business has been the recipient of federal, state or local COVID-19 related support.
Martinez said LCEDD partnerships have created other programs to assist businesses, including:
Doña Ana County was awarded $3,039,750 from the federal CARES Act Relief Fund, the county said in a news release. The fund makes monies available to local governments to provide grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The cities of Anthony and Sunland Park, the Town of Mesilla and the Village of Hatch partnered with the county on the effort. The Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce (GLCCC) will accept applications from small businesses for the grants.
“The pandemic has been a terrible strain on all of our communities, said County Manager Fernando Macias. “We are fortunate to get these funds to help small businesses located outside the of the City of Las Cruces,”
Businesses that are eligible to apply must meet the following criteria: Have an active business registration license in good standing; be located in Doña Ana County unincorporated areas, City of Anthony, City of Sunland Park, Town of Mesilla and Village of Hatch; be headquartered in Doña Ana County; been forced to close or severely curtailed business operations as a result of closure orders from the state; have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; have an annual revenue of $2 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19; had a start date prior to March 1, 2019; or be a nonprofit organization as designated by the IRS and have a certificate of good standing with the state.
“We are encouraging businesses to apply as soon as possible,” said GLCCC President and CEO Debbi Moore.
Distribution of funding will begin upon review of completed applications, the news release said.
Applications may be submitted online at www.lascruces.org; by mail to DAC Business Grants,
c/o Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 519, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004; and in person at 150 E. Lohman Ave. in Las Cruces and at the cities of Anthony and Sunland Park, the Town of Mesilla and the Village of Hatch government offices.
For questions regarding the application process, call GLCCC at 575-524-1968.