EDC awards nine business grants

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The Liberty Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) unanimously approved nine of the first 18 applications for the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Program.

Of the nine that were not approved, four were being sent back to applicants for more information or clarifications and five were denied grants. The total awarded was $43,500 of the available $100,000 allocated for the grant program.

The nine approved businesses had completed applications and met the requirement of being within the city limits.

They were Quick Service Garage – which is owned by Council member Kathy Canady – Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant, Liberty Hill Pharmacy, Liberty Hill Beer Market, Malted Grains and Happy Wok at the maximum $5,000; while Grand Donuts requested $4,000 and Hair Stop requested $4,500 and were both approved for that amount.

The EDC Board considered each application in turn, only raising questions when forms were not complete or the business location came into question. Happy Trails Learning Center and Liberty Hill Pediatrics were sent back for more information on the applications, and a decision on Hell or High Water Brewery was postponed to allow interim EDC Director Matt Powell to discuss the application with the owners. The new brewery and restaurant downtown applied for two different grants – one under the restaurant and another under the brewery, which are two separate businesses, but the EDC Board preferred to only approve one grant, or split the total amount between both businesses. Powell was tasked with discussing those options with the business owners.

Three of the five businesses not approved for the grant – Vizionz Salon, Texas Paint & Fabrication, and Hilltop Children’s Center – are outside the city limits. The Board rejected KLM Custom Homes because it did not meet the qualifications and did not approve Hear It All because the business is currently moving its Liberty Hill location elsewhere.

When the EDC began discussing the program in early May, the outline of the proposal was to take $100,000 of EDC funds and make available up to 20 grants for up to $5,000 each for local businesses.

The criteria stipulates to be eligible a business must have 50 or fewer employees, have a publicly accessible location within the corporate limits of Liberty Hill, must not be home-based, in good standing with the City regarding fees and financial obligations, and must provide a current sales tax certificate.

Businesses must also demonstrate current or anticipated declining revenue beginning March 1 due to the impact of COVID-19.

According to the EDC website, the deadline for applications was Wednesday. The next meeting where the Board will consider applications is June 17.

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