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Deadline Approaches For Local Businesses To Apply For Unalaska CARES Grant Funding

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Hope McKenney/KUCB
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The deadline for local businesses to apply for CARES Act funding is Friday, July 24, at noon.

This second application round is open to non-essential businesses that had to close due to COVID-19, as well as essential businesses that have also been impacted by the pandemic.

"And everyone who is either essential or non-essential — it doesn't really matter at this point — should just apply if you feel like you have reason to apply or were affected by COVID," said Bil Homka, director of Unalaska's Planning Department. 

He said Unalaska is slated to receive $13.4 million in funds from the federal CARES Act, which is aimed at assisting local communities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

40 percent of the funds that the city has received — or will receive — will go towards grants to support local businesses and nonprofits, 50 percent will go towards the city's response and prevention of the coronavirus, and the remaining 10 percent will be set aside to use for grants should the need arise.

"So up to 50 percent is reserved for this grant program," Homka said. "The other 50 percent is being set aside for the city to go ahead and try and make some improvements and respond to the COVID virus on behalf of the public."

The city must spend at least 80 percent of the first installment of CARES Act funding — which is more than $5.4 million — in order to receive the second disbursement.

Homka said the city already started sending out checks to non-essential businesses that applied during the first "pre-application" round in June.

For those businesses that apply during this second round, he said the city is going to process all the applications, but won't be allocating any of the funds until about a week after the application period closes.

"The reason we're doing it that way is because we really don't know how many applications we’ll receive," said Homka. "And they're only going to set aside, at the most 50 percent of what we received. So we might want to see if that's going to be enough. If they go over the 6.2 million, then they'll start reducing the awards percentage-wise. So if we're 10 percent over, then we'll reduce all the awards by 10 percent. If it’s 15 percent, then we’ll reduce all the awards by 15 percent. And if we're under that cap, then under the formulas that have been established, that's what people will receive as the award." 

For non-essential businesses, the City Council established the following formula: Business daily gross sales revenue amount (based on 2019 filed tax returns; if 2019 is not available then 2018 tax returns); Multiplied by 80 days (the duration of the required closures for non-essential businesses); That result is then multiplied by 0.50, which equals the disbursement, or the requested amount, whichever is less. 

For essential businesses, councilors established the following formula: Business daily gross sales revenue amount (based on 2019 filed tax returns; if 2019 is not available then 2018 tax returns); Multiplied by 80 days (the duration of the required closures for non-essential businesses); That result is then multiplied by 0.10, which equals the disbursement, or the requested amount, whichever is less. 

The city is also awarding the 11 local nonprofit organizations that applied for funding a total sum of nearly $910,000.

Businesses can apply for Unalaska's CARES Act grant on the city's planning department website until Friday at noon. 

Hope McKenney reported for KUCB from 2019 until 2022. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2021.
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