Nassau County Executive Laura Curran proposed a measure last week that would provide local businesses with $25 million in federal funds to help make up for revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Curran said last Wednesday that the plan to provide the $25 million in funding for grants, loans and other assistance was the result of a survey conducted by the county’s Economic Advisory Council. The funds, she said, would come from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Small businesses employ our neighbors, family, and friends and are the heart of our vibrant downtown communities that need help,” Curran said. “We need to expand our efforts to support these businesses by providing direct assistance while also helping them take advantage of the programs available from federal and state sources as well.”
The study was conducted by Hofstra University, which has aided the county in gaining insight and statistics from local businesses since last summer. According to Curran, the study found that the most effective way for the county to revive its business districts is to provide direct support of small businesses paired with a streamlined process for business owners to apply for federal aid.
According to county officials, Nassau is anticipating nearly $200 million in 2021 from the federal plan, along with $185 million in 2022. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who advocated for more than $10 billion in federal aid to New York, said he was pleased to see Curran propose an initiative to aid local businesses.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and County Executive Curran’s plan to use this federal rescue package this way will help them, and their employees weather the remainder of the pandemic and power Long Island’s recovery,” Schumer said.
Nearly one year ago, Curran announced the establishment of the county’s Boost Nassau Loan Program, which provided aid to small businesses that did not receive relief from the Small Business Administration or the Payroll Protection Program. In June, Curran said, the Boost Nassau Resource Center will be established in the form of a “one-stop shop” in Eisenhower Park to aid small-business owners with everything they need to know about qualifying and applying for federal grants and loans.
Curran’s proposed measure would also feature stabilization loans to increase the flexibility of pay-back periods and secure lower interest rates for startup and minority- or women-owned businesses.
“These programs will act as a shot of adrenaline for our local economy and hopefully act as a bridge for our main street shops as the country returns to some form of normalcy this summer,” Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, said.
The proposed measure would have to be voted on by the County Legislature. Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said the Democratic caucus “looks forward” to supporting Curran’s measure.
“As Nassau County continues the steady return to greater normalcy, small business owners at the heart of our local downtowns are still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abrahams said.