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FLORENCE – Pinal County’s Business Sustainability Program, which has provided almost $1.2 million in grants to help more than 100 businesses stay afloat, will take applications again next month.

The Board of Supervisors approved a third round of applications Wednesday-‘ and lowered the qualifying level of revenue loss from 25% to 10%.

“I think a 10% loss equates to employees. My issue is I want to try and keep as many people employed as possible,” Supervisor Todd House, R-Apache Junction, said. The board also increased the program budget from $1.5 million to $2 million, which means there will be $750,903 available in round three.

Applications will be accepted from Dec. 1, 2020 through Feb. 28, 2021. The program will accept first-time applicants only in December, and repeat applicants afterward, Pinal County Economic Development Director Tim Kanavel told the board. The program is intended to help businesses in unincorporated areas of the county weather the economic downtown coinciding with the pandemic.

Applications received in January and February will be accepted first-come first-served from any business, including those who qualified during the first two rounds. Businesses may apply online or on paper. For more information, visit the Pinal Works page on the Pinal County website, pinalcountyaz.gov/pinal-works.

The county pays for the program with a portion of its federal CARES Act funding, and previously accepted applications in two rounds — round one from June 15 to July 15, and round two from Aug. 17 to Oct. 16.

CDBG

The board also approved a reallocation of CDBG (U.S. Community Development Block Grant) funds. Florence’s water line project will be expanded for $68,792 and sewer lines will be designed and engineered in Colonia del Sol near Casa Grande for $179,511. The money became available after a previous project came in below budget, Pinal County Grants Administrator Heather Patel told the board.

The board further approved an annual action plan for CDBG and HOME funds. In all, the county will have $1.9 million in federal funds for community and housing development.

Eloy, Florence, Mammoth and Maricopa, the four cities receiving their CDBG funding through Pinal County, will each receive $130,000. The money should be available for the communities to begin their projects in May or June, Patel told the board.

Eloy is planning park improvements, Florence is planning sidewalk installation, Mammoth is planning water system improvements and Maricopa is planning to install a multi-use path.

The aim of the CDBG is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, suitable living environments, and expanded economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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