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.
|SMALL BUSINESS OR NONPROFIT GRANTEE||OWNER||LOCATION||AWARD||PURPOSE|
|Arrey Cafe||Sylvia Sanders||Arrey||10,000||Payroll|
|Baquera’s Grocery||Edward Bamonte||Arrey||10,000||Payroll|
|Precious Elements Design||Karen Hayes||Cuchillo||10,000||Rent/mortgage|
|Butte Propane Company||Michael Skidmore||Elephant Butte||10,000||Payroll|
|Bigfoot Restaurant & Pet Patio||Stephen Gentry||Elephant Butte||10,000||Payroll|
|C & K Automotive Services & Repair||Kim Skinner||Elephant Butte||10,000||Payroll|
|Casa Taco||James Pecherski||Elephant Butte||10,000||Payroll|
|Garrett Western Construction||Kerry Garrett||Elephant Butte||10,000||Payroll|
|Hillsboro General Store Cafe||Benjamin Lewis||Hillsboro||10,000||Rent/mortgage|
|Black Range Lodge||Catherine Wanek||Kingston||10,000||Rent/mortgage/insurance|
|A & B Drive In||Anthony Flores||T or C||10,000||Reconfiguring space|
|AppleTree Educational Center (nonprofit)||Angela Madrid||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Bedroxx||Gary Whitehead||T or C||10,000||Reconfiguring space|
|Blackstone Hotsprings||Ralph & Rob Stuart||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Dukatt ’71||Jeff Dukatt||T or C||4,706||Rent|
|Dust & Glitter||Moshe Koenick||T or C||10,000||Rent/mortgage|
|El Faro||Armida Baray||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Hot Springs Wellness Clinic||Joann Love, M.D.||T or C||10,000||Reconfiguring space|
|Johnny B’s||Amber Morales||T or C||10,000||Payroll/rent|
|Life in Motion (El Cortez Theater)||Mark Giardetti||T or C||4,657||Rent|
|Los Arcos||Bobby Middleton||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|MainStreet Truth or Consequences (nonprofit)||Linda DeMarino||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|New Horizon Counseling Center||Chari Skidmore||T or C||3,512||Mortgage|
|Passion Pie Cafe||Tracy Estes||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Riverbend Hot Springs||Jake Foerstner||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Sierra County Historical Society (Geronimo Springs Museum)||Don Armijo||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Sea Properties||Sid Bryan||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Tony’s Mexican Restaurant||Crystal Archuleta||T or C||10,000||Payroll/reconfiguring space|
|Truth or Consequences Brewing Company||John Masterson||T or C||10,000||Payroll|
|Whitehead Chevrolet||Gary Whitehead||T or C||10,000||Mortgage|
|Kat’s Cleaning||Kathleen Williams||Williamsburg||10,000||Payroll|