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Nassau county exec proposes using federal rescue aid to help small businesses recovering from pandemic

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran  Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has proposed allocating $25 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to aid more small businesses.

The county currently has a $2 million restaurant recovery grant program, which offers $5,000 and $10,000 grants to local restaurants that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds mostly have been depleted.

Nassau would use the new federal aid to open grant eligibility to not only restaurants, but more small businesses, including all food services, retailers and other small businesses in local downtowns.

Nassau is expected to receive $200 million in 2021, and $185 million in 2022 from the American Rescue Plan.

County lawmakers must approve any use of the federal funds.

"We intend for the new grant program to assist the bagel shop, the hair salon, the hardware store, all of our retail businesses that make Nassau downtowns vibrant and make our economy strong," Curran, a Democrat running for reelection in November, said during a news conference at the Queen of Hearts dress shop in Merrick.

The county would also offer new stabilization loans to small businesses, including start-ups and minority-owned women enterprises.

County officials said Nassau hopes to use the additional $25 million for the grants, loans, and assistance to small businesses.

Evlyn Tsimis, deputy county executive for economic development, said $10 million of it is likely to be used specifically for the $5,000 and $10,000 grants.

On Monday, Curran had announced a separate proposal to sent payments of $375 to 300,000 property homeowners who qualify for the School Tax Refund exemptions.

Curran proposed using a separate pot of $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds to make the payments.

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