Calexico seeks grant funding for small businesses

Calexico city manager Miguel Figueroa (far left) and members of the Calexico City Council discuss submitting an application to the Community Development Block Grant Program during a special city council meeting on Wednesday in Calexico. COURTESY PHOTO

CALEXICO — This city will be applying for $170,998 in grant funds in order to help mitigate the economic effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on micro and small businesses within the city.

On Wednesday, the Calexico City Council unanimously agreed to let the city to apply for the grant funds.

The city will be submitting an application for the 2020 Community Development Block Grant Program – Coronavirus Response Round 1 (CDBG-CV1).

Eligible activities under the CDBG-CV1 program include home ownership assistance and housing rehabilitation programs; public facility and public improvements projects, public service programs, planning studies, economic development business assistance and microenterprise activities.

Calexico City Manager Miguel Figueroa said the city will use the grant funds for economic development business assistance and microenterprise activities.

“We have a micro- and small-business population that has been severely affected, and there are a number of ways through this opportunity that we can benefit and support them,” Figueroa said.

If the city is approved for the grant funds, it would have the opportunity to institute a forgivable loan program for affected businesses.

“We can work with our businesses to make sure that we take them by the hand and we guide them, so we can utilize the monies for their benefit,” he said.

On June 5, the Department of Housing and Community Development released a notice of funding availability (NOFA) to the county of Imperial and cities within the county.

Calexico received a NOFA that indicated $170,998 in CDBG Program Income was available.

The county and other cities in the county received also NOFAs with different dollar amounts.

Figueroa said he and administrators from other cities in the county have had several meetings to discuss the NOFAs and how they can best be used.

“We are the entity outside of the city of El Centro that received the highest amount of money,” Figueroa said.

The original deadline in applying for the CDBG-CV1 program was at the end of this month; however, the deadline has been extended until the latter part of September.

Upon the city sending its application, Figueroa said he hopes to speak to HCD and recommend that they expedite the payment of the grant to the city before the new application deadline.

“Every day that passes is just another day that we lose where we can help our community and our businesses,” he said.

Staff Writer Vincent Osuna can be reached at vosuna@ivpressonline.com or 760-337-3442.

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