Right about now, the Oak Harbor CARES Act grant selection committee should be nearing the end of its review process to determine which businesses will receive federal relief funding that’s meant to help recoup losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 10, the city is expected to publish the committee’s recommended list of award recipients in the council packet and then the council is expected to approve the grants at the July 14 meeting. Reimbursement requests will likely be received and processed between July 25 and Sept. 30.
There was some concern at Oak Harbor’s last city council meeting about having a council member on the selection committee.
The committee would meet behind closed doors to determine which businesses should receive the federal relief funding and there was a concern about politicizing the process.
According to City Administrator Blaine Oborn, council members Tara Hizon and Erica Wasinger are acting liaisons between the selection committee and the city council.
They will be at the meetings but will not participate.
According to Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson, she approved the following names presented to her by the city for the selection committee: Bill Larsen, Ronnie Wright, Eric Marshall, Maria McGee, Wendy Shingleton, Ken Eelkema and Jahleel Vester.
Eighty-three local businesses have requested a total of $705,123, according to city staff.
The city and county have combined COVID-19 CARES Act funding to total $677,883 available funds for North Whidbey businesses.
Of the 83 businesses that have applied, 48 percent are owned by women, 27 percent are owned by veterans, 22 percent are owned by minorities, and 5 percent are owned by Native Americans, according to an analysis by city staff.
Food and drink, and retail businesses account for about a third of the businesses that have applied.
Sports and recreation, professional services and beauty businesses account for about another third of businesses applied.
Tourism, healthcare, construction, nonprofit and auto/marine maintenance businesses account for the remaining third of businesses that have applied.
The applicants who did not qualify for the grants will be placed on a wait list.