This article is republished from Press & Guide, originally written by Briana Gaskorski and can be found here.
In a special meeting on Tuesday, April 28, the Dearborn City Council voted unanimously to extend its local state of emergency, as requested by Mayor Jack O’Reilly.
The state of emergency will mirror Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which was extended to May 15.
The city authorized $1.5 million for emergency relief efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of March, of which finance director Ginger Burke-Miller said less than $100,000 has been spent.
“So far $35,872 was spent on cleaning and medical supplies,” she said. “That includes $17,000 in deep cleaning of all of our facilities,$7,000 in medical supplies, $1,500 in telecommunications, and a significant amount spent on hand sanitizer, face shields, and other PPE.”
While $35,872 has been spent already, there is $51,980 encumbered.
“The amount of money encumbered we have received purchase orders for,” she said. “That includes $35,000 in medical supplies and equipment and $8,000 in cleaning costs.”
It was also announced that during the state of emergency, business owners in Dearborn received more funding than most other communities in Wayne County.
“We had more people apply and more people be granted,” Councilman Mike Sareini said. “I think that shows that we are doing something right here and protecting our business owners.”
Chief of staff Mark Guido said that there is another opportunity for small business owners as well.
“As a part of the new economy initiative, we’ve partnered with Access to create the Dearborn Small Business Relief Grant,” he said. “We opened the applications up to the public on April 27 and have already received 430 applications that are pending.”
The deadline to apply is May 1. The grants will be up to $5,000 and provided to small businesses with fewer than 17 employees and sole proprietors in Dearborn during the COVID-19 crisis.
The grant is aimed at small businesses that are usually not considered in normal funding provided by other types of grants.
“The city has been advocating for our business owners to receive immediate financial relief,” O’Reilly said in a press release. “This NEI grant program is tangible and accessible, and we’re doing everything we can to get all available money into businesses’ hands as quickly as possible.”
A grant review committee will be formed to review all applications and select to approve or deny the applications at which point ACCESS will distribute the funds accordingly.
Applicants must meet certain criteria to qualify and business owners who previously have been awarded a Michigan Small Business Relief Grant or the Wayne County/TCF Small Business Relief Loan Fund are not eligible.
Applications are available at https://bit.ly/neigrantapp and the application process will close May 1 at noon. Awardees will receive notification via email the second week of May.