GREENVILLE – Greenville City Council adhered to the governor’s mandate for social distancing when it held its meeting on Tuesday. A handful of council members were in council chambers while others participated via teleconference.
The main focus of the meeting was the novel coronavirus and what the city can do to help businesses, as well as passing legislation in regards to COVID-19.
Mayor Steve Willman pushed for council’s support to work with the Greenville CIC (Community Improvement Corporation) to administer a program to help the city’s small businesses that are getting hit hard by the Stay at Home order. He pointed out his biggest fear is that some will not be able to re-open and a lot of them have not yet been able to get funding through the grant/loan program from the Small Business Administration.
The mayor expressed his concern with a decrease in revenue and the need to reduce the city’s budget, but pointed out if the city doesn’t help local businesses in the short-term, those reductions will end up being long-term. Willman called it a “Catch-22.” The city may have to make cuts due to the reduced revenue, but it needs to find the money to help businesses to lessen the impact of reduced revenue.
Councilman Matt Staugler echoed the mayor’s concern. “It will be worst if half of your small businesses go out,” he said.
Staugler and Willman pushed for assistance to happen quickly.
Willman suggested having the Greenville CIC match the funds the city is able to give and having that organization oversee the program. He is hoping to raise at least $60,000 to help local businesses. The details on requirements and needs will be hammered out in the coming days and the mayor hopes to have the program in place by the end of next week.
Mayor Willman shared with council the city’s website has added links to help the public better navigate some of the issues with COVID-19. The new page includes information from the Small Business Administration and how to apply for the loan/grant. There are also links to COVID-19 information.
In other business, council:
* Approved legislation declaring an emergency in the City of Greenville related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Approved a resolution suspending shut-offs and late fees for water service. The city pointed out that water bills will need to be paid in full, but no late fees will be included.
* Approved a resolution extending the tax filing deadline for city taxes to July 15.