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County committee to consider business applications for COVID recovery money

Companies seek funding through American Rescue Plan

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More than $1 million in federal funding is up for grabs as a Cumberland County committee meets Friday to consider applications from local businesses.

The Cumberland County American Rescue Plan Committee will meet at 11 a.m. Friday to consider funding for applicants under the Small Business Economic Assistance Program.

The meeting will be held in Room 564 of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe chairs the committee. Glenn Adams and Toni Steward also are members.

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide money to offset business losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. ARP provided $350 billion in relief funding; Cumberland County’s allocation is $65 million.

The money can be used to reimburse eligible costs incurred between March 3, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2024. The money must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent by Dec. 31, 2026, according to ARP guidelines. 

Twenty-nine local businesses applied for funding. The recommended distribution amount is $1,031,353, according to a memo to the committee by Brenda Jackson, the county’s ARP program manager.

In her memo, Jackson said each application has been reviewed and includes appropriate records that the business will use the money in a fiscally responsible way and for a public purpose.

County staff members will visit each business to confirm its operating address and ensure it is properly registered with the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office, according to Jackson’s memo.

The businesses are listed in two categories: those that received previous funding and those that have not received funding.

The businesses asking for funding for the first time are:

  • NinaCarolHair, seeking $25,000 for payroll expenses, an amount recommended by the county staff.
  • Atlas Tax Preparers, asking for $35,000 to pay back rent and rehire an employee; $15,000 recommended.
  • XPO Nails, asking for $50,000 for operational costs and wages; $25,000 recommended to hire three employees.
  • Elegance Weddings and Events, asking for $50,000; $4,500 recommended for payroll funding to keep one owner-employee.

In other business Friday, the committee’s staff is expected to ask for approval to contact eight nonprofit organizations to evaluate how they are spending $3.5 million in ARP funding on programs to help the county recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The county received 42 proposals from 38 nonprofit organizations.

A committee of county staff members and legal experts ranked the proposals according to guidelines set by the county board. The county’s legal staff determined that 19 proposals were ineligible for an award. The staff then ranked the remaining 21 proposals. The eight highest rated proposals, totaling $3,353,058, are the ones that will be evaluated.

Those nonprofit groups are:

  • Fayetteville Urban Ministry.
  • Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
  • Carolina Collaborative Community Care.
  • Healing Hands of Love Kingdom Connections International.
  • Cumberland HealthNET.
  • Cumberland County Council on Older Adults.
  • Employment Source.
  • Connections of Cumberland County.
Cumberland County, COVID pandemic, business, American Rescue Plan