Aid to local small businesses in the works

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

A Kansas City nonprofit that specializes in community development funding will administer $125,000 worth of aid to small businesses in Independence to help with COVID-19 hardships.

The Independence City Council unanimously approved a contract with Community Capital Fund for the program, with funds coming from federal Community Development Block Grant money from fiscal year 2020. Community Capital Fund was the lone respondent to the city’s request for proposal.

According to city documents, the program will provide grants and/or loans to businesses in the city with one to 50 employees. Eligible businesses could receive $5,000 to $20,000 to help pay leases and mortgages, keep people employed and generally help stay in business. The program lasts for about a year.

Council Member Karen DeLuccie, later backed by Council Member Mike Steinmeyer, requested some progress reports and that client data be made public – about which representatives from CCF said they had no qualms.

“I don’t think $125,000 dollars is going to last that long,” DeLuccie said, “so I would like at least an interim report and a final report, just so we have some idea on who’s getting it.”

Between normal annual allocations and CARES Act funds, the city received about $1.29 million in CDBG funds in 2019-20.