BERNALILLO — The Sandoval County Board of Commissioners on June 17 unanimously approved $1 million of American Recovery Plan Act funding  to extend the county’s business continuity grant program.

These ARPA funds will be used to address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, which includes harm to small businesses and nonprofits. This will be a continuation of what the CARES Act funding did for qualifying county-wide businesses last year.

Grants will first be prioritized to those businesses that did not receive county CARES Act funds due to unavailability of money or for businesses with costs that exceeded the $20,000 limit set during the county’s last round of CARES Act Continuity Grants.

The county will also work with its partner municipalities to fund  qualified applications they were not able to fully fund last year. Municipalities that participated in the last CARES Act Continuity Act program included the City of Rio Rancho, Town of Bernalillo, Village of Corrales and the Town of Cuba.

ARPA funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures or reduced size of operations, provided those costs were not paid by insurance or by another federal, state or local program.

Once open for new applications, the program will be able to qualify applications with requests that exceed the established $20,000 limit. These applications will be considered “extraordinary requests” and will require approval by the commission.

To date, Sandoval County has received $14.3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $2.5 billion to state and local governments in New Mexico. The first priority identified was small-business recovery and relief.

Allocation of the remaining ARPA funds remains under review and pending final commission approval.

“Many of our small businesses are still feeling the sting of COVID-19 financially even though many residents have been vaccinated and things look like they are heading back to normal,” said commission Chairman Dave Heil. “Small business is the lifeblood of Sandoval County; it only makes sense that we would support them with funds we received to aid with the fallout of a global pandemic.”

Vice Chairman Michael Meek said helping out small businesses and nonprofits is the same as stabilizing the foundation of any structure.

“Anything done that helps ease the burden of our local businesses after the pandemic is the right thing to do,” he said. “These grants in turn will help give us the stability we need to succeed as a county.”

For more information on ARPA funding, contact Sandoval County Economic Development Director Dora Dominguez at ddominguez@sandovalcountynm.gov or 867-8687