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County to reopen ARPA Small Business Grants, open Premium Pay program

Nye County Contracts and Grants Manager Stephani Elliott gave an update on the status of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, Small Business Grant program this month, telling Nye County commissioners that thus far the program is going quite well.

More than a dozen local businesses are set to receive reimbursement for some of their expenses borne over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and many more will have the opportunity to do so in the coming weeks.

“We had opened the Small Business Grant program the first of December and it was temporarily closed for a 45-day processing period on Jan. 16. We’ve actually had 30 applications and we have approved 15, which are being routed for contractual sub-grants now,” Elliott detailed during the commission’s Feb. 7 meeting.

Seven of the 30 applications are currently being held, she explained, because the applicants had previously received funding through the county’s past COVID monies programs. However, those applicants will be eligible for the second tranche of the Small Business Grant program. Out of the pool of applications, only eight were denied, with five not meeting the criteria for the program and the other three being previous COVID money recipients that are no longer eligible for such grant funding.

“And I am really, really excited to share that it’s not just Pahrump. We had businesses in Beatty, Tonopah and Round Mountain all get approved for funding through the Small Business Grant Program and we even have another one pending for Round Mountain coming up in the second tranche as well,” Elliott said.

There is still funding available for the Small Business Grant program and the county will be reopening the applications on Wednesday, March 1. The application period will once again close after 45 days. If, following the second round of small business grants, the county still has fundings remaining, a third application period will be made available.

“At the same time, we will be opening up the premium pay applications for the individual citizens of our communities who were essential workers during 2020 or 2021,” Elliott added.

Thousands of ARPA dollars were set aside for what the county has termed its “Premium Incentive Pay” grant program. This is specifically meant to provide additional pay to both full-time and part-time employees of businesses throughout Nye County who continued to work during the pandemic.

In order to qualify, applicants’ income must be at or below 150% of Nye County’s average annual wage. They must verify that their essential work involved regular in-person interactions or regular physical handling of items that were handled by others and verify that their work was not engaged in telework. A W-2, tax return or letter signed by the applicant’s supervisor may also be required.

Premium Incentive Pay Grant recipients will receive a one-time payment totaling 5% of the annual gross pay for the period of Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 or Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021.

Volunteers and salaried employees are not eligible for the Premium Incentive Pay program.

Applications for both the Small Business Grant and Premium Incentive Pay programs will be posted to the county’s website, www.NyeCountyNv.gov on March 1.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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