Ellis Co. awards businesses $132,000 in federal aid

Margaret Allen
Hays Daily News

Some Ellis County businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic will get a financial shot in the arm by March from a round of federal aid.

The Ellis County Commission on Monday was updated on the scheduled payment of $132,000 to 18 businesses in the county. Another eight applied, but two of those withdrew their applications, five did not meet a requirement for low- or moderate- income, while another had unpaid federal or state taxes, according to Lyle Pantle, assistant director of fire and EMS for the county.

The Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response Supplement is federal money channeled through the states to local counties and cities, mostly rural ones, to help local businesses. The money is part of the 2020 federal CARES Act COVID-19 response relief passed by Congress.

Pantle in May submitted a grant application for $300,000, the maximum request allowed.

Kansas in July 2020 received a second round of the grants totaling $7.2 million. That was divied up among 56 communities, including $132,000 for Ellis County.

Pantle announced the call for applications on the county’s website, and through the two area business chambers, the Chamber, in Hays, and the Downtown Hays Development Corp.

Ellis County businesses awarded the grants were: Mimosa Inc. doing business as Gutierrez/Trio, $25,000; Taco Shop of Hays, $20,000; Golden Q L.L.C., $15,000; Shiva Hotels Inc., $15,000, doing business as Hampton Inn; and BCM Musil L.L.C., doing business as The Paisley Pear, $5,000.

Micro-grants of $4,000 each went to: Hays Nutrition, Diamond D Enterprises, Lilly and Marie, Southwind Crossfit, Something Blue, Victoria City Liquor, Augustines Bakery, Auto Tech, Stanley Remodel, RD Graphics, Northwest Signs & Awards, Skip and Sons, and Tiara Gottschalk doing business as Nail Salon. 

The idea of the grants is to retain jobs for low- to moderate-income people by covering working capital expenses such as inventory, wages and utilities, according to information from the office of Gov. Laura Kelly.

Pantle said money from the one-time federal program will be paid out by the end of March as the county submits requests for payment to the state. The money must all be spent by July 31.

“I do not know if there will be another round,” Pantle said. “I think that really depends on if there’s another stimulus passed. But I really don’t know if there will be another opportunity for businesses to apply.”

If Congress does pass another COVID-19 stimulus bill, as President Joe Biden has promised, Pantle urged business owners to keep an eye for alerts on the web sites for Ellis County and the Kansas Department of Commerce, as well as the local business chambers.