The Union County Development Corporation is seeking a grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs COVID-19 Response Program that would offer grants of up to $10,000 to local small businesses.

UCDC executive director Melissa Browning has been working with grant writer Greg Beumer of Kleinpeter Consulting Group to secure funding to deliver relief to Union County businesses, totaling $250,000. Union County Commissioners discussed the matter in January and gave approval to move forward with the grant application process.

An additional appropriation came before Union County Council at their Feb. 18 meeting to set aside $2,000 from the county's Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) fund to cover the county's portion of the grant program, which would cover Kleinpeter's fee. Beumer informed commissioners the fee would only be charged if the grant application is successful. Auditor Cheryl Begley reported EDIT funds are available.

Councilman Jim Hensley, Jr. made a motion to appropriate the funding and councilman Chris Rosenberger seconded. Council president Richard Blank asked Begley if the grant money would be distributed to individuals.

“It's going to be a sub-recipient agreement. The development corporation is going to handle everything, they are going to go through them and have the criteria. It's for individual businesses up to $10,000 and I'm not sure what the criteria is,” replied Begley.
Council voted to approve the appropriation.

Councilman Jeff Adams asked if this grant is in addition to the funds the county has already received; Blank replied in the affirmative. Councilwoman Trish Persinger noted she had received a letter for Union County Public Transit and the council on aging asking what they would do with the grant funding if awarded.

The following day, commissioners held a public hearing on the grant at the start of their Feb. 19 meeting. The application is due to OCRA by March 11 and awards will be announced mid-April. Beumer noted the purpose of the meeting is “simply to gather input and answer questions.” 
No public comment was offered from the audience. Beumer asked if any of the commissioners wished to speak about the need in Union County.

“There is very definitely a need, I can tell you from the small business sector, there is a need” replied commissioner Howard Curry.

“There’s a few off the top of my head that I can think of, I’m quite certain have lost over $10,000,” noted commissioner Tim Williams.

“You take anybody, you’re open 12 months a year and you close one of them, it’s not hard to figure, you’re down a twelfth of your gross,” added Curry.
Beumer noted OCRA grants require two public hearings; he will return March 19 to hold second hearings from two previous OCRA grants awarded in 2020.