48 Shawano businesses got boost from city grant program

More than $175,000 awarded to assist with occupancy costs
Tim Ryan

SHAWANO — The city is reporting that 48 Shawano businesses have received money from an emergency grant program aimed at helping local businesses with occupancy costs during the economic shutdown that was forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city awarded a total of $175,098, with businesses receiving an average of $3,500.

The temporary relief program was designed to assist small businesses with immediate grant assistance of up to $5,000 to help cover occupancy expenses for up to 60 days — including rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance and other property-related business expenses.

Federally funded programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program, had been made available to small businesses, but both of those programs quickly ran out of money due to the demand, leaving small businesses who weren’t first in line out of luck.

The local grant money came from the city’s Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) districts.

TIF districts are areas where municipalities invest in infrastructure, such as sewer and water, to attract development where it might not otherwise occur, or to make improvements, such as eliminating blight.

Whatever increase in tax revenue that results from development in those districts goes to paying back the debt the municipality incurred from making improvements to the district. However, that money can also be used for civic improvements or financial incentives for development.

The money for the city’s temporary grant program came from TIF District 6, which had about $400,000 available for city projects.