CARES funds available for businesses in unincorporated county

Small businesses in unincorporated Central and South Whidbey that were impacted by COVID-19 closures will have the ability to apply for relief funding from the Port of South Whidbey.

During a special meeting on Thursday, members of the Port of South Whidbey unanimously approved an interlocal cooperation agreement with Island County that enabled the port district to distribute $222,000 of CARES relief funding to unincorporated businesses in Central and South Whidbey. The Port of South Whidbey will also receive $22,000 for administrative costs.

The applications will be available on the Port of South Whidbey and the Port of Coupeville websites on Friday. Businesses will then email the completed applications to the Port of South Whidbey.

The grant can be used for reimbursements on things such as lease payments, payroll or sanitation products.

Business cannot use the relief funding for an expense that is already covered by another grant program.

“If they got an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and they used that money to pay their lease payment they can’t put in a receipt for that lease payment,” Port of South Whidbey Executive Director Stan Reeves gave as an example.

The deadline to submit will be July 16.

Reeves, the Executive Director of Port of Coupeville Chris Michal-opoulos and Petite Bryant-Hunt, who has a temporary position with Island County, will approve the applications and select which businesses are eligible for a maximum $10,000 grant.

“It doesn’t mean we need to give them $10,000,” Commissioner Curt Gordon said, stressing that that was the maximum.

Reeves said he wants to make sure the grant distribution is fair geographically so that one area doesn’t get an unjust amount.

“We’ll have to make an assessment on how many applications we get and how much money is requested and what type of selection criteria we’re going to employ,” Reeves said.

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