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Sierra County to disburse nearly $300,000 in CARES funds to local small businesses soon

by Debora Nicoll | November 20, 2020
4 min read
Arrey Cafe and Baquera’s Grocery are among the 32 businesses in the county that qualified for up to $10,000 each in federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Sierra County, the only local government entity in the county to obtain Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds to be granted to local small businesses and nonprofit organizations, will disburse nearly $300,000 in time for Christmas.

County government has nearly reached its capacity to process grants, but could not ignore the need to lend a helping hand, County Manager Bruce Swingle said. Shutdowns have “decimated” local businesses, he said.

Sierra County initially requested $500,000 from the CARES program. However, New Mexico did not receive funding from the federal government sufficient to cover all state requests. Sierra County qualified for nearly 60 percent of the funds it requested. According to Swingle, the county had one of the highest levels of funding due to the strength of its application, which showed how badly the local economy was hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

Thirty-two businesses or nonprofits met the requirements for receiving the federal funds of up to $10,000 each (see table below listing the grantees). Every business that completed the application and provided the necessary supporting documentation received the amount it requested, bringing the county’s total disbursement to $292,875.

To qualify for a CARES grant, businesses were required to be headquartered in Sierra County, have 50 or fewer employees and annual revenues of $2 million or less prior the onset of the pandemic. Businesses started later than March 2019 did not qualify.

The grant monies reimburse expenditures incurred between March and Dec. 31, 2020, for which the businesses must submit receipts. Most grantees will use the funds to help cover payroll. Other eligible expenditures are for rent, mortgage and the cost of reconfiguring work spaces to reduce the possible exposure of employees and clients to COVID-19.

The county began accepting applications Sept. 10, with an initial deadline of Oct 9. As not enough businesses had applied to use all the funds allotted to the county by the deadline, it was extended into November. The county advertised the program on its website, as well on KHCS radio and in the Sentinel newspaper, but word of mouth may have been the most effective means of communication, according to Swingle.

The county has received the CARES funds from the state. On Nov. 30, the county commission will meet in a special session to approve a resolution to accept and distribute the funds. County administrators will then meet with the grantees to finalize paperwork and turn over the funds.

Arrey CafeSylvia SandersArrey10,000Payroll
Baquera’s GroceryEdward BamonteArrey10,000Payroll
Precious Elements DesignKaren HayesCuchillo10,000Rent/mortgage
Butte Propane CompanyMichael SkidmoreElephant Butte10,000Payroll
Bigfoot Restaurant & Pet PatioStephen GentryElephant Butte10,000Payroll
C & K Automotive Services & RepairKim SkinnerElephant Butte10,000Payroll
Casa TacoJames PecherskiElephant Butte10,000Payroll
Garrett Western ConstructionKerry GarrettElephant Butte10,000Payroll
Hillsboro General Store CafeBenjamin LewisHillsboro10,000Rent/mortgage
Black Range LodgeCatherine WanekKingston10,000Rent/mortgage/insurance
A & B Drive InAnthony FloresT or C10,000Reconfiguring space
AppleTree Educational Center (nonprofit)Angela MadridT or C10,000Payroll
BedroxxGary WhiteheadT or C10,000Reconfiguring space
Blackstone HotspringsRalph & Rob StuartT or C10,000Payroll
Dukatt ’71Jeff DukattT or C 4,706Rent
Dust & GlitterMoshe KoenickT or C10,000Rent/mortgage
El FaroArmida BarayT or C10,000Payroll
Hot Springs Wellness ClinicJoann Love, M.D.T or C10,000Reconfiguring space
Johnny B’sAmber MoralesT or C10,000Payroll/rent
Life in Motion (El Cortez Theater)Mark GiardettiT or C 4,657Rent
Los ArcosBobby MiddletonT or C10,000Payroll
MainStreet Truth or Consequences (nonprofit)Linda DeMarinoT or C10,000Payroll
New Horizon Counseling CenterChari SkidmoreT or C 3,512Mortgage
Passion Pie CafeTracy EstesT or C10,000Payroll
Riverbend Hot SpringsJake FoerstnerT or C10,000Payroll
Sierra County Historical Society (Geronimo Springs Museum)Don ArmijoT or C10,000Payroll
Sea PropertiesSid BryanT or C10,000Payroll
Tony’s Mexican RestaurantCrystal ArchuletaT or C10,000Payroll/reconfiguring space
Truth or Consequences Brewing CompanyJohn MastersonT or C10,000Payroll
Whitehead ChevroletGary WhiteheadT or C10,000Mortgage
Kat’s CleaningKathleen WilliamsWilliamsburg10,000Payroll

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Debora Nicoll covers the Sierra County Commission for the Sun.


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