City of Ashland working to provide funding for businesses

ASHLAND, Ore. — Several local cities are creating financial programs to help their small businesses through the pandemic.

The City of Ashland is doing something a little different.

The City of Medford is making nearly $125,000 available to struggling businesses.

Grants Pass and Klamath Falls are also helping businesses with grants.

Ashland interim city administrator, Adam Hanks, says helping the community is a top priority.

It just doesn’t have the money – after recent budget shortfalls.

“Obviously the impacts of covid have hit our operating budgets [the city’s operating budgets] to maintaining service levels for police, fire or utilities and others, so we’re looking very carefully at ‘what is the right format for business assistance?” Said Hanks.

City councilor Rich Rosenthal says unlike Medford, Ashland can’t just allocate marijuana revenue to businesses.

It already put that money towards housing.

“I think it’s gonna take a few weeks or months for the full picture to be known, but it’s not looking good,” said Rosenthal.

Hanks doesn’t believe giving financial assistance to businesses is in the interest of the city.

“The best way to locally use local dollars is to provide support service generally to the chamber, to then advocate and leverage and get access to funds and work on economic recovery,” Hanks said.

Hanks adds that the chamber is helping businesses apply for federal funding.

“They’re doing, you know, phone and zoom style meetings and consulting – helping people access the federal relief funds,” he said.

But, he says direct funding for businesses isn’t being ruled out.

“There are additional funding opportunities becoming available, so that isn’t a closed door on that discussion at all. We continue to look for resources that will help our businesses,” said Hanks.

The city council is meeting tonight to further discuss finances and how to help businesses.

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