On May 26, the Jackson City Council approved a grant to assist Jackson businesses to recover from the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jackson City Manager Yvonne Kimball created a draft grant program that was borne from the lack of business assistance from state and federal agencies. Many Jackson businesses applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) but, Yvonne said, “to our dismay, we learned that most of Jackson’s small businesses did not receive the PPP loan in spite of their best efforts to apply.”

The Building Process

Other cities in Amador County have already established business support programs, but Yvonne noted that each city within the county has its own challenges. “Unlike any other cities in Amador County, Jackson is the only full-service city that provides police, fire, and full utility services.

“The city also has a broader business base than any other communities in the county,” Yvonne said. This required city officials to take their time talking with businesses, the Amador Chamber of Commerce, and the county to get a feel for what business owners needed.

Yvonne said the city was the first in Amador County to declare a local emergency and implement a moratorium for shutting off utilities for non-payment. Despite those efforts, Yvonne felt the city should be doing more, and feedback from the business community reinforced this perception. With City Council support, Yvonne and her staff worked over a period of a few weeks to craft the proposal.

Yvonne was uncertain about creating a business grant program given the financial challenges faced by the city during the emergency. “We are projecting a pandemic-induced recession and a nine percent revenue shortfall at this point,” Yvonne said. She added that her staff has been creating and implementing city cost-saving measures.

What’s more, she said, “I’m thankful to say that many employees are making sacrifices to help the City weather this recession.” With those sacrifices in mind, Yvonne recommended a “relatively conservative” grant program to the City Council at its May 26 meeting.

After some discussion, the City Council decided to convert the transient occupancy tax (TOT) fund monies normally earmarked for business promotion and economic development into the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant. The amount to be allocated will be between $25,000 and $30,000. The current TOT fund balance as of this writing is $444,621.

There’s More

The city is also partnering with the Amador Community Foundation to raise more funds for the grant. The Foundation has partnered with various city programs for years, and Yvonne added that the Foundation still holds about $3,400 from prior projects with the city. “It makes sense to partner with the Foundation since they can assist the city with fundraising and accepting private donations,” Jamie said.

Any request to make donations will be directed to the Foundation, but the city will control all funds for the grant program.

The Details

Any small business in the city of Jackson can apply for up to $1,000 if the business meets all of the following criteria:

  • Your business must have at least one employee.
  • You must renew or establish a business license in the city.
  • You must remain in business for 12 months after you receive the grant. If you go out of business within that time, you will have to pay back the grant in full.
  • You agree that the city can release your business name and location to the public and the media when you receive the grant.

In addition, Yvonne said, “the selection decision will favor businesses that have a valid Jackson city business license and are in good standing with state and local regulations.”

Yvonne, city staffers, and  Jackson mayor Robert Stimpson will review applications and make recommendations to the City Council. The Council will make its final decisions in July and distribute funds soon after.

Businesses that hold valid city business licenses will receive the form in the mail. If you prefer to fill out the form online, go to the city website at https://ci.jackson.ca.us. The form has information about how to mail, drop off, and e-mail the form to the city.

The deadline to submit the form is at the close of business on Tuesday, June 30. The city will not accept late submissions.

If you’re not sure if your business qualifies, or if you have any other questions, call Yvonne at 209-223-1646, extension 101, or e-mail her at cmanager@ci.jackson.ca.us. If you want to donate, and perhaps receive a tax credit, call the Amador Community Foundation at 209-223-2148. You can also send e-mail to executive director Kathleen Hughes Harmon at kharmon@acfgives.org.

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