Some small businesses in the community could get a financial shot in the arm soon thanks to a local stimulus effort approved Monday by the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. board of directors.
The BIDCorp board gave unanimous approval for a $50,000 promotional program proposed by director Brian Brisendine.
The #BrownfieldStrong program will see 25 locally owned small businesses who were forced to close in response to Covid-19 receive $2,000 in exchange for displaying a poster promoting a “Stay Local, Stay Safe” message to customers.
The funds will be issued on a first come, first served basis until they run out.
Brisendine said he began looking for a way to help existing local businesses as soon as the lockdown began.
“BIDCorp is Type 4A economic development corporation under state statute and there are fairly stringent rules for how we can expend funds,” he said. “This program turned out to be really the only way we could legally get money into the hands of our local small businesses, restaurants, and retail establishments. In effect, BIDCorp is going to pay 25 qualifying local businesses to partner with us to promote our community.”
To qualify for the program, businesses must meet the following:
• Recipient has a physical and publicly accessible location within the city limits of Brownfield;
• Recipient was open prior to January 1, 2020 and remained continuously open to the public through normal business hours until at least until March 1, 2020;
• Recipient’s location used exclusively for commercial purposes;
• Recipient is not a national chain/franchise, a home-based business, has permanently closed or is a non-profit organization;
• Other than curbside delivery, drive through delivery or home delivery of product or service, Recipient voluntarily closed its business to public access due to the COVID-19 public health emergency or was required to close its business to public access until authorized to re-open pursuant to the applicable executive order of the Governor of the State of Texas, Terry County declaration of local disaster and/or City of Brownfield declaration of local disaster;
• Recipient has no more than fifty (50) employees;
• Recipient is in good standing with the City of Brownfield regarding licensing and permits and is current on all local ad valorem taxes;
• Recipient is registered with the Texas Comptroller’s Office as a sales tax revenue generating business for the City of Brownfield; and
• Recipient has the necessary authority to enter into this Agreement and make the representations and assurances contained herein.
Brisendine thanked the board for its full support of the proposal.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy and part of our mission is retention of those jobs,” he said. “I wish we could do more, but if these funds help a business pay its utilities or retain an employee through lean times, then we are doing what we are supposed to do.”
In other business, the board approved an infrastructure grant to assist a local business build a new office building in the city.
Bennett Crop Insurance, a fixture on the Courthouse Square for several years, plans to construct a new, larger building in the 600 block of Seagraves Rd.
Dirt Work has already begun and owner Justin Bennett said he plans to be in the new building by September.
Founded in 2004, the company has grown each year and currently has nine full time employees.
Bennett said intends to add two more fulltime employees this year.
The board unanimously approved a $49,000 infrastructure grant to assist Bennett with the project.
A new board member also was selected to replace Chairman Judy Besler, who completed her second three year term in May.
The board voted to recommend local business owner Pam Brock to the City Council. The nomination was approved unanimously at Thursday’s council meeting. Brock will begin her term at the June meeting.
Routine agenda items included approval of minutes from a previous meeting, as well as review of financial statements and sales tax reports.
The full board was present, to include Judy Besler, Michael Franke, Kelly Riley, Dan Jackson, and Steve Carter.