The City of Greenville is reaching out to residents and businesses who are being affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the Greenville City Council had a lengthy discussion about providing incentives to individuals and businesses.
Three incentives were approved.
Two involve removing late fees from city bills and refunding tourism taxes to motels in the city.
Dave Willey, city manager, said a grace period would be provided for all late fees on city bills, such as water bills, through June 30. The second part is to have hotel/motel taxes refunded through September 30.
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The other incentive passed by the council will affect many citizens and businesses. Residents who have lost their jobs, been laid off or have experienced a decrease in hours will be given a $200 credit on their utility/water bills. Businesses affected by COVID-19 will receive a $400 credit.
City Manager Willey also supported the move. He said residential accounts would qualify with evidence of unemployment payments or evidence of having been laid off. He estimates that would apply to over 700-800 Greenville residents. Commercial accounts would qualify by showing proof of a downturn in business. He believes the city could have at least half of the city’s business accounts qualify.
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Willey told the council he believes the one-time utility/water credits are affordable to the city and can be fairly administered to provide relief to residents.
He estimates the entire package could cost the city around $210,000. Guidelines for the program need to be develop by the city administration, and once completed they will be provided to citizens and businesses so they know what information must be provided to qualify for credits.
Mayor Alan Gaffner suggested giving the $200 credit to all water users and $400 credit to all businesses in the city, but that was not part of the motion approved by him and the council members. The motion to approve the incentives was unanimously approved.
A discussion was also held about a loan program for businesses affected by COVID-19.
Mayor Gaffner preferred it be a grant program, providing up to $2,500 per business, from the revolving loan account.
No action was taken on the subject so more information could be gathered.