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City to contribute $200K to Mower Small Business Relief Grant program

The Austin CIty Council voted 6-0 in favor of contributing $200,000 to the Mower County Small Business Relief Grant program during its regular meeting on Tuesday. Councilwoman Joyce Poshusta was absent from the meeting.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners recently approved the Small Business Relief Grant program to provide the funding from the county’s allocation of federal CARES Act funds. City Administrator Craig Clark proposed the City participate to supplement eligible applications.

The City would work with the DCA on applications.

After speaking with DCA President and CEO John Garry, Clark said it was felt a $200,000 funding level was a reasonable amount for City participation. The City would utilize fund balance from the general fund for its portion of the grants.

Garry told the council that he estimated about 120 small businesses in Mower County applied for the grant. Since up to $10,000 is available per grant, and because the County set aside $750,000 for small businesses, Garry estimated about 80 would get a grant from the County, thus having the city’s support would help.

Should the number of applicants exceed available funds, businesses will receive a ranking to the degree their business was impacted by COVID-19.

The council also passed a resolution setting the hearing date on fall assessments for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5. The assessments include snow removal, junk removal, weed removal and grass mowing, tree assessments, miscellaneous sidewalk and driveway projects, forfeited property reassessments, administrative citations, hazardous housing mitigation, unpaid sewer bills and other unpaid city assessments.

The council also voted to authorize the 2020 city yard waste program from Sept. 19 through Nov. 29. From dawn to dusk, residents will be allowed to drop yard waste (leaves, grass and plants from flowers and gardens) at the Cook Farm site on Highway 218, north of Walmart. No branches or sticks will be accepted.