Marshfield Common Council considers city relief fund
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Mayor Bob McManus wants to make $40,000 of city funds available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The mayor presented the concept to the Marshfield Common Council during its virtual meeting April 21.
“The idea is to create a Marshfield COVID relief stimulus for local businesses that are outside of their home in the city of Marshfield with a brick and mortar building that have not received any assistance from the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) or other federal business programs,” he said.
The mayor said the money would come in the form of a one-time grant not to exceed $1,500, to cover things like rent and utility bills.
Alderman Ed Wagner wanted to run the program past the city’s Economic Development Board (EDB).
“One of the reasons that the EDB was established is that all the community organizations involved in economic development would be at the table and could help make decisions,” Wagner said. “They would quite likely be the right kind of body. They have the makeup to administer a grant program like this.”
The mayor was trying to avoid too much red tape, to get relief to as many businesses as possible as quickly as possible.
“Our business community, the people out there, they’re hurting, and they have a big voice. This happens in government – we’ll just tie it up in red tape, and then what happens is the people in the public, they feel like, ‘Who’s listening to me?’” the mayor said.
Wagner said that “red tape” has a purpose.
“It’s basically making sure that public monies – and these are public monies – are spent for a necessary public purpose, and that it’s being spent honestly and wisely, and that we’re being good stewards of that money,” Wagner added. “So, yes, I don’t like ‘red tape’ any more than anybody else, but I do know the purpose for it.”
The money for the grant program would come from the city’s contingency fund. Criteria for the money does state that applicants must be local, non-franchise businesses with 15 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, with a physical brick-and-mortar presence within the city of Marshfield. Businesses able to operate remotely or within social-distancing guidelines, such as restaurants providing delivery or curb-side services, would not be eligible.
The Council voted 10-0 to refer the proposal to the Economic Development Board as soon as possible.