Fairfax Co. approves $25M emergency grant program for small businesses

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a $25 million program Tuesday to give grants to small businesses and nonprofits in the Virginia county that are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant application process is expected to start in early June.

“I am very excited about this program — the first of its kind in Fairfax County,” said board Chairman Jeff McKay.

Businesses or nonprofits may be eligible for grants of up to $20,000 if they have fewer than 50 employees.

The program will be funded using money from the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress approved in late March.

“Our hope is that these grants will help small businesses and nonprofits be able to emerge from these difficult times by retaining employees and preparing to grow in the future,” said McKay.

“We want to support the many small businesses and nonprofits that are crucial to the Fairfax County community and economy.”

Fairfax County lawmakers had previously approved a $2.5 million program to give small businesses loans, but the grants under the new program will not have to be paid back.

Other local jurisdictions in the D.C. region, including Montgomery County, Maryland, have created similar emergency grant programs to funnel money to businesses that are virtually shut down and trying to stay afloat.

In addition to approving the grant program, the county board adopted a new pandemic-altered budget that slashed new spending and held the line on property taxes.

The amount of additional money allocated for schools was cut from $85 million all the way down to $7.3 million.

Before the pandemic hit, the county’s residential property tax rate was set to go up by 3 cents, but that was scrapped, keeping the rate at $1.15 per $100 of assessed value.

The $4.47 billion budget is for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts in July.

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