The Williamson County Wilco Forward Small Business Grant Program has issued 3,509 grants as of Monday, June 29, totaling more than $33.2 million.
“Giving back to our local small businesses, as we all face the burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is our priority. These businesses are the backbone of Williamson County’s economy, and I am pleased that we are providing them with some relief as they work to get back on their feet,” said Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles.
Since the inception of the program, the Williamson County Auditor’s Office has reviewed approximately 100 applications a day. The county is still receiving about 25 applications per day from local small business owners looking for a financial boost to help relieve them from the negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer reports the average grant being issued is $9,472.28.
The program is funded by CARES Act funds, which were issued to Williamson County by the federal government to assist with COVID-19 related expenses. The County was awarded more than $93 million in CARES Act Funds. The Williamson County Commissioner Court is utilizing those funds in phases.
Phase 1 targeted helping local small businesses through the creation of the Wilco Forward grant program with $35 million allocated to the cause. As part of Phase 2, the Williamson County Commissioners Court allotted $20 million to reimburse Williamson County cities for COVID-19 related expenses. Additionally, $1 million was allocated to the Williamson County and Cities Health District for their COVID-19 expenses. Also included was $500,000 for Emergency Services Districts (ESD) and $500,000 for Bluebonnet Trails Community Services for COVID-19 related expenses.
This week, members of the Williamson County Auditor’s Office held their first virtual meeting with some city leaders to discuss eligible expenses and deadlines. Reimbursements will be done in three phases. Phase II-A will include eligible expenditures from March 1, 2020, through May 31, 2020, with supporting documents due June 15. Checks will be issued in July. Phase II B will include eligible expenditures from June 1, 2020, through August 31, 2020, with supporting documents due by September 15, 2020, and checks issued to entities in October. Phase II C will include eligible expenditures from September 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020, with supporting documents due by December 15, 2020. Checks will be issued to entities by December 30, 2020.
On June 23, the Commissioners Court approved allocating $5 million for Phase III for community services that focus on rent or mortgage assistance and utility assistance. The $5 million is coming from the County’s CARES Act funds and Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 funds of $939,026. Details on the distribution of these funds will be finalized at a future Commissioners Court meeting.
Small business owners who have not submitted an application for a grant through the Wilco Forward program have until June 30, 2020, to do so. For details on eligibility and more on the Wilco Forward program visit https://www.wilco.org/forward.