Despite getting a slow start, Santa Fe County is gaining momentum in distributing the $3.8 million awarded by the state to the City of Santa Fe, the county and the Town of Edgewood for small business and nonprofit grants.

On Wednesday, county spokeswoman Carmelina Hart tells SFR the county has approved $649,075 for 45 businesses and nonprofits to date and is processing an additional 60 applications.

Earlier this week, the state Department of Finance Administration told SFR the department had only received reimbursement requests for $119,952, however, Hart says the county is approving more applications than DFA has on record so far due to the nature of the process.

"The first part of the process is getting the money out…Reimbursement from DFA is the last step in the process," says Hart.

She says to date the county has written checks totaling $484,281 to 33 local business and is in the process of getting money into the hands of the remaining 12 businesses that have already been approved.

While the process is somewhat cumbersome, Hart says it's the fastest way to funnel money to struggling business.

"The most important thing is just to get the money into the community as quickly as possible," she tells SFR.

There's still over $3 million in CARES Act funds for small businesses to distribute before the Dec. 30 deadline. If the full amount does not get used up by the end of the year the remaining money will go back to the Federal government.

Businesses and nonprofits with under $5 million in annual revenue that have suffered more than 25% revenue loss this year due to the pandemic can qualify to receive up to $25,000 in a one-time grant to cover pandemic-related expenses since March.

Priority will be given to locally owned independent businesses with under 25 employees, businesses that were ordered by the state to fully or partially close, businesses that not receive funding from the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and businesses that have suffered more than 50% reduction in revenue.

Eligible expenses may include paying rent on a storefront or office space that was closed to the public for extended periods, payroll for employees who were retained in spite of a reduction in business, or supplies purchased by a restaurant to provide COVID-safe service, Santa Fe Economic Development and Communications Administrator Liz Camacho told SFR on Monday.

While the county is tasked with writing the checks, the city, county, and Town of Edgewood are working together to get the word out, process applications and make awards. Camacho is working on the program on behalf of the city.

"Any small local business that has lost revenue likely has some reimbursable expenses and we will help them figure out how to make the most of this opportunity," she says. "The first thing is that they have to apply as soon as possible."

Here's how:

Step 1: Make sure your business or nonprofit is eligible by checking to see that you meet the following criteria (as listed on the Santa Fe County website):

  • Possess a current Santa Fe County, and/or City of Santa Fe, and/or Town of Edgewood Business License;
  • Have a principal business address that is registered and located within Santa Fe County;
  • Employ a minimum of 1 employee and up to 100 employees (sole proprietorships qualify);
  • Demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% in revenues due to COVID-19;
  • Have incurred, or will incur, documented expenses for grant between March 1 and December 30, 2020;
  • Have been in business since, or prior to, March 1, 2019;
  • Revenues of business or non-profit must not exceed $5 million prior to impact of COVID-19;
  • If nonprofit, received its 501(C)(3) designation prior to March 1, 2019 and have audited financials and be determined to be in good financial standing;
  • If nonprofit, the organization must have no part of its net earnings going to benefit any member, founder, contributor or individual;
  • Be current on all New Mexico state taxes;
  • Agree to provide a report about the use and results of the grant funds 60 days after receipt of award letter.
  • Agree to explore and review business counseling for financial and business continuity planning with entrepreneurial support organizations.

Step 2: Gather your documents. This is a pretty big haul so go down the list one by one to make sure you've got it all. Here's what you'll need (also from the Santa Fe County website):

  • New Mexico Tax ID Number and proof of compliance with NM Tax and Rev (found here); Once on the NM Tax and Rev. website click “Check CRS Status” and fill out the form;
  • If applicable, a copy of a Certificate of Good Standing for State of New Mexico (found here);
  • A copy of Santa Fe City, County or Town of Edgewood business license;
  • Unaudited (or audited) financial statements for the purpose of demonstrating revenue decrease due to COVID-19:
  • 2019 and 2020 Q1 and Q2 Profit and Loss, as available cash flow statements, and balance sheet;
  • And, ES903A Form (this is the reporting form for workforce solutions) or completed payroll spreadsheet showing number of employees, hourly wage, and employment status (full or part time) for previous three (3) quarters);
  • And, copies of most recent Federal and State Tax Returns (preferably FY 2018 & 2019) or equivalent (Schedule C is equivalent for Sole Proprietors)(Form 990 for non-profits);
  • If a nonprofit, a 501(c)(3) designation form, most recent audited financial statements, current list of board members; current and previous year organizational budget including all sources and uses of funds.
  • If you have received funding from the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program please complete the certification form found here or provide official documentation detailing how the funding from these programs was spent.
  • Gather receipts and complete the spreadsheet for the requested eligible business continuity (including payroll) and redesign expenses you wish to receive funding for (up to $25,000). (Spreadsheet found here).

Step 3: Fill out the online application or ask for help from one of the two organizations that have partnered with the county to process applications. Both offer applications and instructions in both English and Spanish. You can apply here: