Council approves COVID-19 relief for nonprofits, small businesses

The second round will go to 66 organizations; money for COVID-19 cleaning costs also OK’d.

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  • | 8:00 p.m. August 11, 2020
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City Council approved two bills Aug. 11 that will provide $7.24 million in COVID-19 relief to small businesses and nonprofits.

Approved 18-0, Ordinance 2020-0412 will provide 66 Duval County professional and youth sports teams, churches and social service organizations with direct financial payments. 

Mayor Lenny Curry administration officials scored the assistance requests. They considered the amount each applicant requested, how the organization impacts local employment and the number of people reached by its services, according to Curry Chief of Staff Jordan Elsbury.

About $3.4 million is from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act money in the city’s general fund contingency account. The remaining $3.78 million is unused money in the city and VyStar Credit Union’s COVID-19 small business loan and grant program.

Jacksonville Baseball LLC, the parent company of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, will receive the most funding at $2.16 million.

The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, The Donna Foundation Inc., Hubbard House Inc., Jacksonville Jewish Center and Zion Community Church Inc. are among the groups that will receive funding. 

This is the second round of funding for nonprofit and for-profit organizations. In June, the Council approved $16.54 million for 72 nonprofit and for-profit groups. That funding was from the CARES Act. 

Business cleaning and sanitation grants

City Council approved 13-5 a bill that will reimburse businesses up to $10,000 for COVID-19-related cleaning and sanitation costs. 

Council members Aaron Bowman, Al Ferraro, Leanna Cumber, Ron Salem and Rory Diamond voted against the bill. 

Council member Garrett Dennis proposed the bill. It sets aside $1 million for the program. 

Businesses must have operated in Duval County for at least a year and employ two to 100 people to be eligible. They also must be able to demonstrate the financial impact of deep cleaning and sanitation because of a positive COVID-19 test after May 4. 

The business must show receipts documenting the costs of the deep cleaning to receive funding. 

Cumber, Ferraro and Bowman said they were concerned about the spending. 

“I don’t think it’s prudent or fiscally smart to appropriate this today,” Cumber said. 

The list of grants approved by City Council on Aug. 11.
The list of grants approved by City Council on Aug. 11.