The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation authorized a relief grant program Monday that will distribute $185,000 to 62 Bastrop businesses struggling through the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


Depending on their size and overall contribution to the local economy, each business will receive a grant totaling between $750 and $9,500.


“Each business must use the funds awarded to expand their business enterprise after the contraction they have experienced since the onset of the virus and the actions taken to slow the spread,” BEDC CEO Cameron Cox said in a news release.


The awards require each business to sign a performance agreement in which recipients agree to use the money to retain jobs, create new jobs lost during the pandemic or for any capital improvements. The use of these funds expire one year from signing the performance agreement, at which point the businesses are required to show the BEDC tax receipts and employment reports for 2020.


The BEDC’s board approved the expenditure on Monday. Board members were not given the identities of the businesses slated to receive grants in order to “objectively make these decisions,” Cox said. The Advertiser obtained the list of approved businesses Monday evening after the board’s vote.


The funds will be distributed to the businesses over the next two weeks and will be sourced from two BEDC funds: an $150,000 business incentive fund and an $150,000 fund for business expansion or retention.


The $185,000 emergency grant distribution leaves room in the BEDC funds to potentially issue a second round of grants next month if businesses are still not allowed to reopen. Businesses who were awarded money during the first round of grants will be eligible for an award in the second round, Cox said.


“The BEDC wants to provide as much help as possible to all who qualify,” the news release said.


To determine the amount each business would receive, the BEDC considered five factors. Each business submitted an application that asked for the physical size of the business, the type of business, the amount of property taxes paid in 2019 and the value of the businesses’ personal property, the amount of sales taxes paid in February 2020 and the number of employees prior to the pandemic, the BEDC said.


Only businesses within the Bastrop city limits were eligible to apply. The deadline for completed applications was April 10 and 62 businesses applied. All were awarded a grant.


The BEDC divided the businesses into eight categories, each receiving a different amount.


The largest businesses with the highest number of employees and sales tax revenues will receive $9,500 each, while sole proprietorship businesses and so-called “mom and pop” stores will receive between $750 to $1,500. The remaining categories range from $2,000 to $6,500 in awards, the BEDC said.


The Bastrop City Council is not required to approve the expenditures because each individual grant does not surpass $10,000, the threshold that triggers city approval.