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County EDA disburses $268,000

New state funding will help 100 local entities

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Feb 21, 2021

The Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA) had a special meeting last Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 16, with one major objective.

To give away $268,000 to county businesses and organizations.

After roughly an hour of discussion and some debate, the EDA board accomplished the meeting’s mission.

The funds came from the State of Minnesota’s COVID Relief Grants sent out to each county.

This was in addition to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security money which came from the federal government and was already disbursed.

The County EDA had advertised the availability of the funds in local media, and EDA specialist Annie (Leibel) Nichols reported there had been 116 total applicants for the funds.

Nichols had prepared a spreadsheet which covered all the applicants and had three different scenarios of ways to disburse the funds.

After much discussion the EDA board decided on option three of the scenarios, with some adjusting to the amount of funds to some of the businesses and organizations.

At the end of the meeting, after the adjustments were made, the various groups received the following:

Bars, restaurants, event centers and gyms (the main focus of the state directive) received a total of $96,600.

Other businesses which ranged from vehicle repair businesses to manufacturing and auction and antique sales, received $63,900.

Non-profits, from churches to service clubs, received $33,885 total.

Agriculture and businesses on farms received $25,475 total.

Other types of businesses received $28,675 in total funds.

Administrative and advertising costs were $22,473.58.

Most of the grants were between $1,000 and $8,000, with the majority of them $2,000 and $3,000.

“The board had voted previously to limit the grants to no more than $5,000 each, but we had a few that needed to go up to $8,000,” Nichols said. “So if you want to approve this plan, you would also need to set the upper limit at $8,000.”

The EDA board members did exactly that.

Sixteen of the 116 applications were denied, for a variety of reasons ranging from having combined with another business, already had received direct payments, or did not have any COVID related losses.

In other business at the special meeting, the County EDA members voted to set aside $1,000 towards assisting with a plan to do a “wine and dine” event for potential veterinarians or students interested in the purchase of the Makotah Veterinarian Clinic in Blue Earth.

The County EDA would be partnering with the Blue Earth EDA and helping pay for the meals and lodging of persons attending the event.