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Dane County Board approves $15M for small business grant funds
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Dane County Board approves $15M for small business grant funds

City-County Building (copy)

OnThursday, Dane County supervisors  agreed to erase nearly $150,000 owed by people incarcerated in Dane County’s jail, set a special election for District 19 and authorized $15 million in more small business grant funding. 

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A program aimed at supporting small businesses weather the pandemic’s economic storm received an additional $15 million following approval from the Dane County Board of Supervisors Thursday.  

This is the third round of funding for the grant program, which is administered by Dane Buy Local. 

“I’m pleased we are able to provide another round of grants to Dane County businesses,” Supervisor Patrick Miles, District 34, said in a statement before the meeting. “Because, while we can see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, many business owners are struggling from the effects of the last year. These grants will help them stay open and save jobs.” 

Dane County started the grant program last year with $800,000 in county dollars. With funding the county received through the CARES Act, Dane Buy Local oversaw $10 million in grants.

A second round of funding provided $4 million to businesses, though Dane Buy Local received $50 million in application requests.

Dane Buy Local will partner with the Latino Chamber of Commerce, Madison’s Black Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation to identify local businesses.

“Partnering with these organizations will ensure that the funds are being distributed equitably across the county,” Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher said in the statement. “I’m eager to provide this continued support to local businesses in our county.”

At the end of last month, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi called on the Health & Human Needs Committee to recommend the third round of grant funding after the committee postponed action at its April 15 meeting. 

Supervisors at the time wanted more clarity on how and why federal pandemic recovery aid is being allocated. Dane County received $95 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund and $106 million from the American Rescue Plan for expenses related to COVID-19.

On Thursday, supervisors also adopted a resolution requesting quarterly reports on programs funded by the American Rescue Plan and that all resolutions allocating these funds include statements of justification, expected outcomes and data collection plans. 

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Also at the meeting: 

The Dane County Board of Supervisors wiped out nearly $150,000 owed by incarcerated people in the county jail. 

People jailed in Dane County can go into debt by using another person’s phone minutes, owing medical copays or not paying electronic monitoring fees.  

The resolution authorizes the immediate elimination of debt for fees and fines totaling $149,828. Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney, whose last day on the job is May 8, is not forgiving fees incurred by those who have damaged county property.  

[Q&A: Kalvin Barrett set to bring 'peace officer' mindset to Dane County Sheriff's Office]

The board ordered a special election for District 19 on July 13 to replace former supervisor Teran Peterson who is moving out of the district. 

If three or more people decide to run, a special primary will be held June 15.

Candidates can begin circulating nominating papers May 7 following the board ordering a 

special election at its Thursday meeting. They need between 50 and 200 valid signatures, which are due May 21 at 5 p.m.

All candidate forms are available online, and candidates can contact the  Dane County Clerk’s Office at 608-266-4121.    

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