As 2020 was wrapping up, business owners around Metropolis took a few moments to fill out an application seeking at least some reimbursement of funds related COVID-19.

During Monday’s Metropolis City Council meeting, Mayor Billy McDaniel informed the council that a total of 24 City of Metropolis Economic Support Grant applications are being evaluated.

“We’re very happy we got 24 local business applications,” McDaniel said.

The city was notified the week of Dec. 21 by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) it had been approved for $60,000, which will provide a maximum reimbursement of $3000 for eligible expenses to any single business applicant. Funding for the grants will be reimbursed to the city through the Local CURE ES program by DCEO, which is is overseeing Coronavirus Relief Fund monies for the state.

For qualifying businesses in the City of Metropolis, the City of Metropolis Economic Support Grant provides reimbursement toward expenses incurred because of the pandemic. These expenses can include rent, mortgage, utilities, winterization projects for outdoor operations, PPE and interior changes, such as new protective barriers, and have to have been incurred from March 1 through Dec. 30, 2020.

“This is money going to people that have not gotten help in some other way. We will be going through them and distributing out that money to all who qualify,” McDaniel said. “We are trying our best to help — $3000 is an amount that means a lot to a small business.”

The city is applying this week for PACRO (Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization) funds, a part of which will be used for the city’s small businesses.

“We’re trying to make available every dollar we can get from the state,” McDaniel said. “We’re still anticipating some hardships through the spring, so we’re going to try to secure another $60,000 out of our PACRO account to help with our loan and refurbishing programs.”

McDaniel also announced that if COVID numbers continue to decline, he hopes to reopen city hall and city offices, which includes in-person city council meetings, on Feb. 1. If the reopening can occur, those entering city buildings will be asked to wear a mask and observe social distancing.

In other business:

• The council approved the purchase of a computer for the Metropolis Police Department to replace one that is no longer compatible to the system. The purchase amount, plus the software, is $4645.23.

• The council adopted an ordinance authorizing the disposition of the city’s personal property — selling two diesel Chevrolet Blazers from the Metropolis Police Department to Massac County Amateur Emergency Service (ARES) for $1. McDaniel noted other city departments were offered the vehicles, but there was no interest; and that the vehicles were not purchased with city funds. Massac ARES is a part of the Massac County Amateur Radio Club.

• The council gave its permission to match the $1000 2020-21 IMUA Scholarship Program amount if the winner is a Massac County High School senior whose parent(s) is a paying customer of City of Metropolis utilities.

• And, the council was reminded of the dates for brush pick up for the remainder of the month: the week of Jan. 11 and the week of Jan. 24 are Ward 2 and Ward 4; and the week of Jan. 18 is Ward 1 and Ward 3.

City offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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