Williamson County approves $10M grant program for food, drink and lodging businesses

Williamson County approved a $10 million grant program for food, drink and lodging businesses. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County approved a $10 million grant program for food, drink and lodging businesses. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County approved a $10 million grant program for food, drink and lodging businesses. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved a $10 million second round program March 9 for area businesses in food, drink and lodging industries that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second small-business grant program the county will operate with this program focusing on food and bar businesses as well as hotels and motels. The first took place in June and was a $35 million grant program open to all small businesses with less than 100 employees.

“[These] are the industries that have been most affected by the governor's orders that are expiring [March 10], on limited occupancy. Our bars and restaurants have been limited either 50% or 75% occupancy, or it's sometimes zero for a year,” County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer said.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that beginning March 10 all businesses will be able to operate at 100%. He also rescinded the statewide mask mandate, but owners can choose to enforce a mask mandate within their business.

The money for the program would come from the initial approximately $93 million the county received in coronavirus relief aid funding in April. As of March 9 and prior to allocating money to the new grant program, the county had about $20 million remaining.


Heselmeyer made note that through the American Rescue Act—the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package for COVID-19 recovery efforts expected to be signed by President Joe Biden during the week of March 8—the county anticipates to receive an additional $114.5 million.

If that pans out, Heselmeyer said the county may look to offer financial assistance to other struggling business sectors.

This second round of grants will be based on number of employees. Businesses who apply will receive $500 per employee up to $10,000. Applicants must submit a copy of their fourth quarter 2020 Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Tax Report and the highest employment between October and December 2020 will be used, Heselmeyer said.

Heselmeyer said the county has set up an online application, similar to the first round of small-business grants. He added that he is working to partner with a third party to assist with the clerical processing of the applications.

Businesses who received a Round 1 grant but have not submitted follow-up documentation will need to do so before receiving Round 2 funding, Heselmeyer said.

Eligibility for the program is as follows:

  • must be a food service, bar, hotel or motel;

  • must be physically located in Williamson County;

  • must have Williamson County Food Establishment or Mobile Food Establishment permit, TABC on-premises license or caterers permit or pay Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax;

  • food service and/or bar establishments must receive at least 50% of income from sale of food and/or beverages; and

  • businesses that sell fuel do not qualify.


In addition, businesses that opened before Dec. 1, 2019, must certify that average monthly gross income for 2020 was at least 25% lower than 2019. Business that opened Dec. 1, 2019, or later must certify significant effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program has not yet launched, but Heselmeyer said he believes it will around March 16.
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


MOST RECENT

The Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock is one of three locations reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
Flix Brewhouse reopening in Round Rock; algae toxicity falls in Lake Travis and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas twice issued calls for power conservation this spring but has said it is prepared to manage the potentially record-breaking statewide demand for electricity through the summer. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislature passes power reforms as Texas grid is prepped for potentially record-breaking summer demand

The Texas Legislature wrapped up its spring session with the passage of several bills related to the power grid ahead of the system's next seasonal test this summer.

Many different zoning and rezoning ordinances were passed by the City of Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Multiple zoning, rezoning requests receive Georgetown City Council approval

The zoning changes could allow for more houses in Sun City and a new subdivision.

YMCA of Greater Williamson County is proposing a joint facility with Georgetown ISD and has asked the city to join in. (Community Impact staff)
YMCA asks Georgetown for $3M to participate in $29M joint facility

YMCA officials are proposing the city join in a partnership with Georgetown ISD to construct a new recreation facility.

Georgetown City Council will have a second public hearing regarding amendments to the city charter. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown City Council debates charter amendment adding term limits

The proposed amendment could add term limits for council members and the mayor.

The front of a pediatricians office.
Georgetown Pediatrics hosts grand opening June 26

The event will include family-fun activities as well as chances to meet the pediatricians and tour the clinic.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

Williamson County courthouse
More than $2M of federal dollars to help Williamson County projects

County staff has identified a total of 10 high-priority projects countywide to be funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program.

The front of the Georgetown ISD building.
Georgetown ISD announces new principal at Carver Elementary School

Tosha Vanmetre has worked in various positions in Georgetown and Manor ISDs.

Rachael Jonrowe currently represents District 6 on Georgetown City Council. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe to resign

The District 6 representative cited multiple reasons in a June 7 video posted to Facebook.

H-E-B has two stores in Georgetown, including one off I-35. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B celebrating 55 years in Georgetown on June 26

Festivities on June 26 include activities, photo ops and free reusable bags.