By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent

HERMANN – Small businesses in Gasconade County can benefit from a special loan program created by the county commission to help them deal with the coronavirus.

Under the program approved Thursday, some businesses can apply for loans up to $ 50,000 while others can apply for assistance up to $ 30,000. Businesses with 20 or more employees can claim up to $ 50,000, while the lesser maximum amount of $ 30,000 is available for businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

County administrators set aside $ 700,000 of the $ 1.725 million CARES Act received by Gasconade County as part of the $ 2.2 trillion coronavirus relief fund approved by Congress in March.

Gasconade County is following the lead of Dent and Washington Counties, which jointly provide $ 800,000 for small business loans.

The loan program will be administered by the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), headquartered in St. James, Phelps County. MRPC has contracted with seven of the eight counties in the Meramec region to administer the county CARES law funds used to reimburse local government entities for costs associated with combating the virus, such as reimbursement for the costs of disinfectants. , some newly created positions in particular. dealing with virus and personal protective equipment.

Counties have until December 30 to use the money from the CARES law, although the MRPC has set a deadline of December 20 for public entities to submit reimbursement claims. Any remaining money must be returned to the federal government.

By enacting the Small Business Loan Program, the county commission endorsed the MRPC’s policy that none of the CARES Act funds can be used for wages and benefits.

In addition to private businesses, the loan program also makes funds available to non-profit organizations. Nonprofit groups face a maximum loan amount of $ 25,000.

Businesses and organizations can claim any amount of the maximum allowed. They can also apply for rounds of additional loans until they reach the maximum amount allowed.

Loan requests will be made directly to the MRPC and not to the county government; the regional planning agency will provide businesses and organizations with details of what can be covered by the funds. “Everything is done through the MRPC,” County Clerk Lesa Lietzow said. “MRPC will provide every business (and organization) with all the criteria” regarding the use of the money.

Representatives from the Owensville Arts Council were on hand Thursday to ask questions about a loan program and the commissioners used the survey to initiate discussion about the creation of the program. President Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, a week earlier had asked Associate Commissioners Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville and Jim Holland, R-Hermann, to consider establishing a loan program and be prepared to take measures when the administrative committee last met. Thursday session.

Meanwhile, on another coronavirus front, retired Associate Circuit Court Judge John B. Berkemeyer was put on duty to handle the role of Associate Judge Ada Brehe-Krueger last week as she remained in self-quarantine after announcing that a person was appearing in her court on July 7 had tested positive for the virus.

The lawsuit also sent a deputy sheriff to quarantine, as well as a deputy constituency clerk who was in the courtroom during the proceedings. It was the only case heard in the courtroom that day.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was the day the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department was due to return to full service to answer 911 calls. The response had been limited to certain calls for several days due to the deputy sheriff’s quarantine and the decision to send home as a precaution another deputy sheriff who had a fever. The deputy who was quarantined was due to return to work on July 21, which allowed the sheriff’s department to return to normal responding to 911 calls.

Sheriff Mark W. Williams was not on hand for the county commission session, and county administrators also did not discuss the sheriff’s decision to curtail the response to 911 calls as the deputy was in quarantine.

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