The Denton County Commissioners Court announced Tuesday that 1,215 businesses across Denton County would receive grants totaling $32 million for a grand total of $35.1 million in federal funds earmarked in two phases to support the local economy.
“The Denton County Commissioners Court is committed to helping our local businesses recover from the financial losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “These grants allow us to assist many of our small businesses across the county and help initiate the recovery of our local economy.”
In Phase II of Denton County OPEN, for-profit businesses headquartered and located in Denton County with 100 or fewer employees were eligible to apply, according to a news release from the county. The amount each business received was based on the documented negative financial impact of COVID-19 between March 1 and June 20.
Of the 1,215 recipients in Phase II, 47 percent employ between 1 to 4 people while 21 percent employ 5 to 9 people. A total of 12 grants were awarded for companies with 50 to 99 employees. In Denton County, around 95.6 percent of all businesses employ fewer than 50 employees.
The Phase II grants reached across Denton County with 22.62 percent in Precinct 1, 17.05 percent in Precinct 2, 30.72 percent in Precinct 3 and 29.62 percent in Precinct 4.
In Phase I, Denton County awarded $3.09 million to 451 businesses, averaging an estimated $6,872. Around 23.5 percent of the first phase of grants were awarded to businesses in Precinct 1, 16.85 percent in Precinct 2, 29.27 percent in Precinct 3 and 30.38 percent in Precinct 4.
The total of $35.1 million for both Phase I and Phase II of the Denton County OPEN business grants is a portion of the stimulus money Denton County received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the “CARES Act.”
Through the two phases, Denton County will have re-invested an average of $25,357 into 1,385 businesses. An estimated 10,401 jobs are expected to be supported through the grants.
In comparison, Tarrant County earmarked $30 million for business grants and Dallas County earmarked $5 million. Travis County set aside $9 million for business grants while Bexar County awarded $11.75 million for businesses.
“We immediately identified supporting local businesses as we earmarked the CARES Act funds for distribution within Denton County,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Ron Marchant. “We realized how important it is to stabilize the local economy as well as assist non-profits, supplement food needs and provide eviction prevention measures.”
Michael Talley, Director of Economic Development for Denton County, worked with the Commissioners Court to implement a Chapter 381 Economic Development Agreement, which allowed the county to administer and develop a program to make grants of public money stimulate, encourage and develop commercial activity in the county.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our business community hard, especially, our small businesses,” Talley said. “The infusion of these dollars into our local businesses is an important step in keeping our local economy thriving.”
“All of us on the Commissioners Court are excited about assisting our local businesses,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell. “It’s so important that we keep Denton County businesses running to keep jobs and keep people working. That’s what it is all about.”
Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson agreed: “Many of our businesses have been seriously affected by the pandemic. Supporting them with these grants is a way to keep these businesses functioning and open for the future. I am hopeful these grants will lead to the continued employment or rehiring of individuals across Denton County.”
Precinct One Commissioner Hugh Coleman said the grants would help ensure Denton County businesses can keep people employed, which in turn will help many local families. “These grants will have a trickle-down effect – helping businesses, keeping jobs and assisting families,” he said. “Reaching that goal was important to us as the Denton County Commissioners Court. We wanted to give a shot in the arm to the local economy.”