The Coppell City Council approved the reallocation of $1.5 million in CARES Act funding Tuesday for a new business assistance grant, technology for the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (CFB ISD) and medical equipment for the Coppell Fire Department.
Economic Development Coordinator Mindi Hurley said $1.3 million will go toward the new business assistance grant program. The program, she said, will target rent and mortgage payments with a maximum award of $5,000.
To be eligible, the business must have a storefront within city limits, have a current utility bill, not be in any litigation with the city and must be able to demonstrate a reduction in sales of at least 10% for a two-month period after March due to COVID-19.
Hurley said the application process will be continuous until the Nov. 30 deadline – set by Dallas County – passes and will begin Monday. She said 264 Coppell business are eligible for grant funds.
Coppell received around $2.3 million in CARES Act funds from Dallas and Denton counties in July. Of that, $1.7 million went toward two business grant programs – the Business Assistance Grant Program and the Business Retrofit and Restaurant Assistance grant.
Hurley said both programs had specifications that limited the number of businesses that could qualify and the city awarded $199,123.14 in two rounds of applications. Thirty-five business applied for the city’s initial grant programs.
“Response to the programs has been lower than what staff expected,” she said.
Hurley, however, noted that any funds not spent or committed by Nov. 30 would be returned to Dallas County.
Hurley added the city has a limited timeline to use or commit these funds, but a decision will need to be made as to what to do with unused funds, if that does occur.
Council member Cliff Long, however, knows exactly where he doesn’t want them to go.
“I think that probably we’re in a better position sitting here in Coppell to determine how the funds will be best be used than some individual sitting in Washington D.C.,” he said. “I think we need to have a plan B early on so we know what we’re going to do … We want to give this money to our corporate citizens.”
The council also approved $50,000 for CFB ISD for Operation Connectivity, which is a program that helps provide distance-learning equipment. Vicky Chiavetta, Coppell’s deputy city manager, said 411 Coppell residents that attend CFB ISD would benefit from this program, which buys Chromebooks, tablets and hot spots for students.
She added a similar funding request could be brought before the council for Coppell ISD in the near future.
Council also agreed to send $77,162.32 to the Coppell Fire Department for the purchase of four new hands-free chest compression devices. Fire Chief Kevin Richardson said these devices are recommended by the American Heart Association to help reduce first responders’ risks of being exposed to COVID-19.