Coulee Dam to offer business grants


Last updated 9/30/2020 at 9:10am

Coulee Dam will offer grants to city businesses to help with expenses due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The town might have as much as $14,000 in its own expenses to cover with money allocated the city through the “CARES Act” passed by Congress this year for relief during the pandemic. But that sum would leave plenty left over to help local businesses.

The city’s allocation of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

recently increased to $49,500 from an earlier $33,000. It can be used for many needs within the town government, including the necessity of holding online meetings of the town council. Supplying the council with computers to make that possible, as well as cutting down on “mountain of paper” council members receive to prepare for council and committee duties can also qualify, City Clerk Stefani Bowden told the council Sept. 23.

Councilmember Dale Rey said equipping the city properly for online meetings is about more than reducing paperwork; it allows crucial communication during the pandemic and lets the town live by the mandate to not have public meetings in person. Several council members have been attending by phone with a poor connection, hampering discussion.

But instead of passing up on the rest of the money, which is authorized for government or business use, Councilmember Keith St. Jeor said the city should set up a grant program similar to the one adopted by Electric City recently.

“We’ve got to spend the money or we’re going to lose it,” St. Jeor said.

Ben Alling noted that the American Legion post in Electric City will get $10,000 through that program making up for the hold on its normal summerlong rummage sale as a fund raiser.

On a motion by St. Jeor, the council voted to allocate up to $6,000 for laptops for the council included in up to $14,000 the town can spend of the money.

That leaves $35,500 the town can allocate through grants to small businesses.

The motion, seconded by Dale Rey, passed unanimously.

In other business, council:

• discussed language regarding control of cats to be included in an animal control ordinance that has been under discussion for months. Dog control clauses had previously been discussed;

• voted that the city crew can pour replacement sidewalks following specifications prescribed by the city’s engineer. An adjacent property owner requesting such work can be billed for it;

• amended the 2020 budget to reflect an additional $227,820 more income and expense related to the wastewater treatment plant construction. The city accepted a $1.2 million grant last year, some of which is being spent in 2020; and

• heard zero public comments on an updated draft city comprehensive plan that former council member Ben Alling has been working on with city planning consultants. The document describes city plans and goals for the next decade and inclusion in it is a common requirement asked for by funding agencies when a city applies for grants for public facilities.


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