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City Council To Award COVID-19 Grants Based on Income of Nome Businesses

A telephoto view of Nome’s Front Street on a cloudy afternoon.

Nome business and non-profit owners who have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic now have another option for help. The Nome Common Council has approved a small grant relief program for businesses and non-profits using the $750,000 of their federal CARES Act funding.

During a special meeting on Thursday night, all six members of the Council approved the resolution for the grant program. The Council had previously allocated that portion for local businesses but had not decided what that relief would look like. The $750,000 for the program is a portion of the city’s total $5.6 million in CARES Act funding.

Nome’s adopted model is based on a plan originally developed by the City of Kenai. It uses gross sales from 2019 tax returns to determine a sliding scale for grant eligibility. The lowest sized grant will be $1,500 awarded to vendors who made between $10,000 and $15,000 during the last fiscal year. The largest grant available is $20,000 for a business making greater than $600,001.00

This is Nome’s second phase of business assistance through CARES Act funding; the City is planning to do a third round later this year. Nome Chamber of Commerce President Paul Kosto commended the simplicity of the application and thinks this program will help Nome understand how COVID-19 has truly impacted local businesses.

“We’re going to have a really good idea of all the businesses that can apply. Not just those that have utility bills.”

– Paul Kosto

Still, Kosto and other business owners urged the Council to consider a more “needs-based” approach to relief in their next round of small business awards. In order to qualify for these local grants, businesses must be based in the City of Nome and in good standing on their taxes and payments.

Grant applications are now available on the City of Nome website and are due by end of business on Thursday, August 20th.

The Nome City Council has their next regular meeting at 7pm tonight where they will go over three resolutions and hear the City Manager’s report.

Image at top: Nome’s main thoroughfare, Front Street, May 2013. Photo: David Dodman, used with permission.

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