Mayor Lucas proposes $500K for Small Business Emergency Relief Fund

Small grants would help offset COVID-19 impacts
Posted at 2:37 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 15:59:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Stop-gap funding may be coming for small businesses if the City Council signs off on Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ budget amendment.

Lucas is proposing an amendment to the KCMO budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that would provide up to $500,000 for a Small Business Emergency Relief Fund.

The fund would provide small-sum grants to small, Kansas City-based businesses “struggling amid the COVID-19 health crisis,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Grants, unlike loans, typically are not paid back.

“My heart breaks for all of our small, local businesses and their employees who are suffering during this public health crisis,” Lucas said in a statement. “I applaud the painful steps our small businesses have already taken to protect our community — now, it’s our turn to step up and protect them. This fund would help provide a lifeline to the businesses impacted the most. I look forward to discussing this further with the City Council and I’m optimistic we will approve this measure on Thursday.”

The $500,000 will come from the city’s general fund, his office told 41 Action News.

Specific eligibility parameters and information about how the money can be used will be released at a later time, but some of the determining factors are expected to include how much revenue the business has lost, rent costs and operating cash on hand.

Most grants are expected to be in the $5,000 to $15,000 range and the mayor’s office said it hopes to be able to help 50 to 100 businesses through this funding mechanism.

“We know it’s not nearly enough, but, as the mayor has said before, it’s what we can do right now and what we can get in the budget to help our small businesses immediately,” Morgan Said, a spokesman with the mayor’s office, told 41 Action News.

Additional long-term solutions may be forthcoming, but it’s hard to predict what the need will be without knowing how long the COVID-19 pandemic will keep things shuttered.

City officials remain hopeful additional relief will be coming from the state and federal level at some point.

“This is not the only solution,” Said said. “We will continue to devise more solutions as we move forward in these unprecedented times.”

The KCMO City Council is expected to vote on the proposed budget, including Lucas’ new amendment, Thursday at its weekly meeting.