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Jasper County Tribune

Assistance coming for businesses in Colfax

Assistance is on its way for Colfax businesses. Executive director of Jasper County Economic Development (JEDCO) Jeff Davidson was on hand for the Colfax City Council meeting to discuss what Jasper County has been doing to assist businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Jasper Community Foundation and the Newton Development Corporation came to me and said they wanted to start a business assistance program for businesses in Jasper County that have been affected by the virus pandemic,” Davidson said.

Specifically, Davidson said they want to target businesses that were closed due to the governor’s decrees as well as businesses who didn’t receive state or federal funding. The desire was to have a county-wide program.

“We have done pretty well in Jasper County with those programs,” Davidson said.

Important things to know about receiving a grant:

• The applicant cannot have received another form of assistance for their business from the available State or Federal sources.

• The program is for independent, locally-owned businesses located in Jasper County with under 25 employees.

• Businesses can be non-profit or for-profit and those ordered closed by Gov. Reynolds decree will receive priority.

• A completed application is not a guarantee of financial assistance. However, those who are selected for the grants will receive funds the week of May 18.

While the payments are going to be directed towards businesses that have not received federal or state funding, Davidson said it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility to open it to those businesses but for the time being, the sole focus is on businesses who haven’t received aid.

“Not to say that if we had the good fortune of having funds left over that we couldn’t reopen it then to people who had already received assistance,” Davidson said.

There has already been money donated by the Jasper Community Foundation and Jasper County Board of Supervisors to the tune of $25,000 each. Those funds will be able to be used for businesses throughout Jasper County.

“We have been able, so far, to raise about another well it’s approaching $20,000. We are hoping to get to $100,000 for the program when we launch it,” Davidson said.

The program is simple, Davidson said. The one-page application will focus on businesses including barbers and hair salons along with others closed due to the pandemic. Those who apply need to provide receipts for items and explain how the pandemic has affected the business. The grant money would cover those costs for the month of April.

“We wanted to focus on those fixed costs and specifically on utilities and either your rent or mortgage payment depending on your situation,” Davidson said.

For people and businesses that would like to apply, visit www.growjaspercountyiowa.com for the application. Davidson said people can also reach out to JEDCO at JEDCOIowa@gmail.com for questions and information.

“The applications are due May 26 and we hope to make decisions and distribute funds right after that. Get the money out the following week so that people can be helped,” Davidson said.

In addition to the money that has already been contributed, council members agreed to add $5,000 specifically for Colfax businesses.

“If funds remain, the recipients can be awarded funds for May as well,” councilman Brad Magg said.

The council also decided on the temporary closing of Lewis Park during the Colfax-Mingo School Construction project. Council members had various questions about where construction equipment would be and if that would possibly pose any hazards to people utilizing the park.

“Might not be very safe you get a group of people back down there if they are running heavy equipment through there,” councilman Curtis Small said.

The temporary closure would affect the disc golf course, horseshoe pits, tennis courts and the playground. Mayor David Mast said the city doesn’t know if the pool can open at this time. The council agreed to close Lewis Park with the exception of the swimming pool for the duration of the construction at the high school. There is no firm timetable on how long the closing could last.

“I expect them to be working on that school project for most of the construction season,” Colfax City Administrator Wade Wagoner said.

In other business:

• The city council approved the hire of a new part-time police officer, David Beshey. Beshey is an Iowa Law Enforcement Academy certified police officer and will be paid $25 per hour with no additional benefits.

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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