The city of Sandy Springs, in partnership with the Sandy Springs Development Authority, will help 160 small businesses through its COVID-19 relief program.

“One third are in the retail, accommodations and foodservice industries," Assistant City Manager Kristin Smith said.

At its Feb. 16 meeting, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sandy Springs City Council voted 6-0 to approve authorizing an additional $277,233 for the city’s small business relief assistance program.

In November, the program was established with $1.2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds Sandy Springs got from Fulton County and $100,000 from the authority. The city, which limited the program to businesses with less than 100 employees, received 182 applications.

Though 160 small businesses were eligible for funding (an average of $10,400 each), only 125 could receive it, so the city decided to add another $277,223, with the authority chipping in an extra $50,000, to fund the remaining 35. To complete the deal, the council also voted 6-0 to approve amending its memorandum of understanding between the city and the authority to allow for more funding.

According to a news release, at least 79% of the businesses that applied for aid have operated in Sandy Springs since 2005, the year the city incorporated, or earlier.

Of all eligible applicants, 28% were sole proprietors or businesses with only one employee, 38% comprised of two to 10 employees, and 34% had 11 to 99 employees. Overall, companies saw a 37% drop in revenue from 2019 to 2020. The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber helped the city administrate and evaluate the applications.

A demonstrated decline in revenue was the main factor in awarding the funds to these businesses, Smith said. She added the city expects more state or federal COVID-19 relief aid to come in the future.

“How much of it we will see,” she said.

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