Community leaders in the Lake Travis area are hopeful a new financial assistance plan from Travis County will add another layer of help to small businesses in more obscure geographic regions of western Travis County.

The Travis County Commissioners Court on April 28 moved forward with plans to allocate federal stimulus funds for coronavirus recovery, designating $10 million of the county’s $61 million in coronavirus relief funds to go to local small businesses.

Travis County’s $10 million small-business relief grant program will be available to businesses located in unincorporated areas of the county, the city of Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and Travis County municipalities without a comparable program. Businesses with 25 or fewer full-time employees and which net less than $1 million in annual revenue may apply for grants of up to $40,000 to be spent by year’s end, per federal requirements.
Steve Albert, president of the Bee Cave Economic Development Board, said he is glad the county is working on a program to benefit businesses in unincorporated areas, of which there are many near Bee Cave.

The Bee Cave EDB is working on a similar financial assistance program for businesses within the city limits, and Albert said it should be ready to roll out by mid-May, with the possibility of giving out money in mid-June.

"I think the Travis County financial assistance program will complement our program well because our program has to be specifically for Bee Cave businesses," Albert said. "So, it’s good to hear businesses near us will get some help."

Laura Mitchell, president of the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce, agrees that there are many businesses in western Travis County that could benefit from this financial assistance.

The Lake Travis chamber serves the geographic area from south of the Mansfield Dam through Lakeway, Bee Cave and Spicewood to the Pedernales river, Mitchell said, and added numerous businesses served by the chamber are in the unincorporated areas of Travis County, most of which are in Spicewood.

There are also a number of "kitchen table businesses," which she described as professional services such as lawyers, certified public accountants and financial advisers who may work from home in these unincorporated areas, including Hudson Bend, Apache Shores, Cardinal Hills and Spicewood, that the county's new funding program could serve.

"We are grateful and excited to share this opportunity with our business community," Mitchell said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

Hector Nieto, Travis County public information officer, said at this time officials do not have an implementation timeline or date that applications will be opened for qualifying small businesses for its financial assistance program.

County officials are planning to hire a consultant who will help them with implementation, and until that person is on board they will not have those details, Nieto said.

Olivia Aldridge contributed to this report.