HELENA – Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced additional pandemic relief funding for small businesses, meat processors and local governments on Thursday.
The state is adding $25 million to a $50 million grant fund to support small businesses recover from the economic downturn. Businesses could seek a maximum of $10,000. The state has received applications for more than $61 million and has paid out $10.6 million.
Bullock also announced a $2 million fund, with a maximum grant of $150,000, to help local meat processors expand their processing and storage capacity and get more meat on grocery store shelves. Processors have until July 2 to apply.
“An increase in in-state processing means more direct sales, and better, value-added markets for producers,” Bullock said. “These investments will bolster Montana’s food security, making us stronger in response to the pandemic, as well as long into the future.”
Increased processing capability will provide additional markets for Montana cattle, hog and poultry producers, Bullock said.
Local governments can also now seek reimbursement for coronavirus-related expenses. Counties, cities and towns can also seek repayment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency spending for coronavirus response.
A low-interest small business loan program is being developed, but the amount of money available has not been determined. It is expected to be announced soon, Bullock said.
The spending is part of Montana’s $1.25 billion share of federal coronavirus relief funding.
Bullock earlier announced $123 million in spending, including $50 million for emergency housing assistance and $10 million for nonprofits. The state has paid out $1.5 million in housing assistance and has applications for another $1.6 million. Nonprofits have received just over $5 million in funding and another $3.8 million has been requested as of Thursday, the governor’s office said.
The initial funding also included $5 million for public health agencies to help businesses develop safe reopening plans. There has been $4.2 million paid out and $680,000 in applications are pending. Food pantries have received nearly $1.7 million from a $2 million grant fund. Applications for another $896,000 in funding are pending.
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