Round Hill Approves $15K Business Relief Program

Round Hill will use 25 percent of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to support its more than two dozen in-town businesses.

The Round Hill Town Council last Wednesday night voted unanimously to distribute $15,000 of the town’s $59,077 CARES Act allocation as grants to the 30 businesses with valid Round Hill business licenses. To do that, the town will place $15,000 in a designated fund and hand that over to Loudoun County Economic Development to distribute to the businesses. Town Attorney Maureen Gilmore said it would happen that way because of certain Virginia laws restricting towns from distributing money directly to businesses.

Instead of awarding the money to each business in proportion to the amount of commerce they contribute to the town, each brick-and-mortar business will receive $350 and each home-based business will get $200. All businesses will also receive an additional $100 for each person they employee.

Town Administrator Melissa Hynes is expected to brief the Town Council on her talks with Loudoun Economic Development at the June 17 meeting.

Combined, Round Hill businesses provide the town with about $44,000 annually from business license, meals and cigarette taxes.

The CARES Act, which Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law in late March, set up a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist state, local, territorial and tribal governments. Virginia received $3.1 billion of that amount, about $36.1 million of which is going to Loudoun County to be spent on one-time uses directly associated with response to the COVID-19 pandemic between March 1 and Dec. 30. Of that amount, about $6.1 million will be distributed to the county’s seven towns within the first few weeks of June.

Round Hill’s share accounts for 0.16-percent of the county’s overall allocation and, like the county’s six other towns, is based on population. Round Hill features 664 residents, according to 2018 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Under the provisions of the CARES Act, localities must use the funding to cover expenditures incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30 this year. Any funds left unused by Dec. 30 must be returned to the federal government.

The town will use the remaining $44,077 of its CARES Act allocation to pay for costs it will incur while operating amid the pandemic, such as health and safety supplies, setting up teleworking systems, cleaning the town office, paying staff overtime, parks and recreation maintenance, COVID-19-related signage and paying the town attorney for legal review of emergency measures.

Mayor Scott Ramsey said the council could consider approving another round of grants at a later date.

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