SBERG, Homer's CARES Act program, slated for tweaks at city council meeting

Jul 27, 2020

Credit City of Homer

The City of Homer is still working on distributing the $3 million it’s been allocated for coronavirus relief to businesses and nonprofits inside its city limits. According to city spokesperson Rachel Tussey, 211 applications have been received, with 164 being approved and a total of $492,000 already distributed.
    But there are issues with the program.
     “We have heard feedback from local businesses, and have experienced some challenges. So some of those people who may not have been awarded or issues that had come up, we always encourage businesses to apply, regardless of if they think they may be eligible or not just in case,” she said. “And you can always go to the city of Homer's website, there's a button for the S-BERG program. All of the eligibility requirements are laid out there.”
    Tussey says the Homer City Council will address those issues on Monday night at its regular meeting.
    “City council has two resolutions on the agenda to amend the S-BERG program to address some of those issues that have come up,” she said. “So one is to clarify the eligibility requirements related to business operation within the city of Homer, as it relates to sales tax collection with the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and it establishes an appeals process.”
    She says the changes could help out applicants who’ve struggled with the process.
    “So, what that means is that some of those people who may have ran into issues of being eligible, due to how sales tax is collected, they may be eligible in the future,” she said. “But we need to also have an appeals process in place to make sure that if they are eligible, we could maybe just reconsider their application again. So they don't have to reapply.”
    Above all, Tussey says it’s important that businesses and nonprofits who need the assistance apply.
    “We want as many people who are affected by COVID to apply,” Tussey said. “You know, we've got these CARES funds from the government, and we want to make sure that people who are affected are taken care of.”
    Information is available on the city’s website. The Homer City Council will meet Monday evening at 6 p.m.