Prince William County is receiving $41 million in federal funding to help cover costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and can cover necessary spending from March 1 through Dec. 30 that is related to the pandemic.
The Board of County Supervisors decided to spend $8 million for an emergency housing assistance program that can cover rent, mortgage or utility payments; $5 million for a small business relief grant program; and $2 million for social services costs related to the pandemic.
CARES Act funding is based on population. Of the $41 million dedicated to the county, the county is allocating $451,384 to Dumfries; $147,726 to Haymarket; $94,380 to Occoquan and $45,138 to Quantico, according to the county.
Staff are expected to make more recommendations on CARES Act spending in June.
Supervisor Victor Angry, D-Neabsco, asked during the meeting if this funding can be used to purchase COVID-19 tests for residents. County Executive Christopher Martino said the funding could be used for that purpose if the board voted to do so.
The county spent $208,836 in April for emergency medical service providers in fire and rescue. EMS providers offer detection, response, reporting, on-scene care, care in transit and transfer to definitive care, according to the county.
Staff estimate about $6 million will be reimbursed for expenses incurred due to the pandemic by June 30, and $12 million by Dec. 30. These expenses include materials, supplies, personal protective equipment, and personnel costs associated with the pandemic response.
SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS
Christina Winn, the county’s economic development executive director, told the board Tuesday the grant program will accept applications soon, possibly in the first week of June.
The Industrial Development Authority will offer 500 grants of $7,500 for businesses with three to 20 employees, and 125 grants of $10,000 for businesses with 21-50 employees, Winn said.
Businesses must have gross receipts less than $1 million to be eligible. Businesses that apply will have to provide financial information that will be public record under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Winn said.
In addition, businesses must agree to report on spending and to return money if the business closes within three months of receiving the grant or if the business leaves Prince William County in the first year after receiving the grant.
Staff will review applications and if there are more applications than funding, a random drawing will determine which businesses receive a grant. Because hotels, restaurants, retail and personal service establishments have been hit hard, their application will be placed in the random drawing two times, Winn said.
Her department is also working to promote the county’s economy and is offering free business counseling.
MANASSAS GETS $3.5M
Manassas City Council is discussing taking a portion of the $3,584,508 it receives from the CARES Act on a relief program for businesses with 25 or fewer employees that have seen a 35% or more reduction in business due to the pandemic.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Patrick Pate proposed a breakdown of the city might allocate funds. According to the plan, 20-30% would be used for business recovery. Another 20-30% would be used for individual relief in the form of rental or utility assistance, testing and food security programs. The rest of the funds would be used for city expenditures on cleaning, protective equipment, employee testing and more.
Though the small business relief program has not yet been designed, Economic Development Director Patrick Small said most franchise operations would not be able to access the city’s funding, but owner-operated franchises would. City Councilperson Ian Lovejoy said the program should be designed to help businesses throughout the city, not just in certain areas.
“There’s going to be a lot of scrutiny on this. There’s going to be businesses that get it, businesses that don’t. That’s just the way any program has to be with a finite budget,” Lovejoy said. “And it’s just going to be very important, I think, to be very clear and transparent about the process.”
Manassas Park was awarded $1.5 million, according to the county.