Buda OKs about $485K to ease economic strain of pandemic

Buda City Council members held a regular meeting April 7 via Zoom. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)
Buda City Council members held a regular meeting April 7 via Zoom. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)

Buda City Council members held a regular meeting April 7 via Zoom. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)

Buda City Council members adopted multiple economic relief measures at an April 7 meeting that will allot roughly $485,000 to small businesses in efforts to help alleviate the economic strain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

As a response to recent county and state mandates that have severely impacted small businesses by forcing them to shut down and leading to layoffs, Buda’s small-business task force created the Still Budaful Stimulus Program.

Under the Still Budaful Stimulus Program, financial assistance will be provided to small businesses through three different grant programs: Still Budaful Stimulus Grant, Emergency Co-Marketing Grant and the Hotel Occupancy Tax Forgiveness Program. Each grant will require applicants to meet different criteria.

Funds for the Still Budaful Stimulus Program come through the city of Buda and the economic development corporation together with business and community support through the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Still Budaful Stimulus Grant, the first grant under the program, will allocate about $380,000 in grants to small businesses that meet the criteria required, including a maximum of 50 employees, a physical and publicly accessible location, must be registered at the Texas Comptroller’s Office, businesses must also have current licenses and permits, and experienced a decline in revenue or employment due to the pandemic.

Small businesses can receive up to $5,000 under the Still Budaful Stimulus Grant if all the criteria is met and businesses can prove a decline in both revenue and employment due to the outbreak.

Applications for the Still Budaful Stimulus Grant will be submitted online and reviewed weekly. The standing of the application status will be provided to the applicant within five to seven business days. Funds for this grant will be awarded until depleted.

The Emergency Co-Marketing Grant, the second grant under the program, will provide financial assistance to tourism-related businesses. The grant will reimburse businesses for qualifying marketing costs during the pandemic.

To qualify businesses must directly promote the tourism, convention and hotel industry and have qualifying advertisements, including social media and Google Ads, according to city documents. Businesses that qualify may receive up to $100 in marketing reimbursement.

The Hotel Occupancy Tax Forgiveness Program, the third grant under the Still Budaful Stimulus Program, will grant qualifying local hotels a deferral of hotel occupancy tax payments to the city for the period of March 20 to April 20. In addition, local hotels may be forgiven for up to $5,000 in hotel tax payments.

A Hotliner Incentive program will also be available for hotels, a program that existed prior to the coronavirus. This incentive program allows incentives for all eligible hotel tax expenses under Texas state law, according to city documents. Eligibility for this incentive is based on percentages paid in hotel tax revenue from the previous fiscal year.

The Still Budaful Stimulus Program will launch April 9 at noon, applications will be available here.

In addition to approving the Still Budaful Stimulus Program, Buda City Council members also voted to suspend all utility disconnections and waive late fees.

To further financial relief efforts, council members unanimously voted to waive mobile food vendor fees for a quarter and credit card transaction fees paid to the city for two months. For more information about the program click here.

By Evelin Garcia
Evelin Garcia covers local government, education, business and development as the reporter of Community Impact Newspaper's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle edition. Evelin is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in international studies.


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