City council approves funding to aid local businesses


By SARA VANDEN BERGE

The Stephenville City Council began hammering out the details on when and how the city should begin the process of getting back to business.

Members of the council and city officials gathered for a meeting at City Hall Wednesday that was livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.

The city’s health authority, Dr. Kelly Doggett, was the first to speak.

“Some people think I am an extremist and that is not the case,” Doggett said, adding that he understands the economic urgency of getting people back to work.

He said Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the state “so far sounds reasonable.”

“I’m in favor of moving towards normalcy, but it has to be done at the correct pace,” Doggett told the council, crediting “strong leadership” from SISD, Tarleton, and city and county officials for doing their part to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

HELP FOR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS:

• The city council approved an amendment that will automatically adopt the governor’s orders to ease or further restrict local businesses as the plan to reopen the state continues to move forward.

• The council approved moving forward with a $60,000 loan grant program that will loan local businesses up to $2,500 that will be paid back to the city with a low-interest rate.

It's aimed at helping “one-on-one” businesses like hair and nail salons that did not qualify for the government’s PPP program.

The city and SEDA are partnering to launch the program.

• The council approved $70,000 to SEDA for a “restart” program that will supply local businesses with items needed to reopen and remain operational during ongoing restrictions.

The program has so far supplied hand sanitizer to local businesses and thermometers are expected to be distributed next week.

Gov. Abbott is expected to unveil a more detailed plan on additional re-openings on Monday, April 27.

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Beneath the Surface News. sara@beneaththesurfacenews.com