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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County expands reach of $40M Small Business Impact Grant program to include all business, COVID-19 aid recipients


July 28, 2020

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SALT LAKE CITY  ̶  Salt Lake County opened its Small Business Impact Grant to businesses closed by COVID-19’s public health orders with the goal of reaching small businesses forgotten in the rush of initial federal relief.
 
Since June 16, Salt Lake County successfully reached out to thousands of eligible business owners and has awarded $2.4 million in grants to 142 businesses across the County, with $2.1 million in grants requested by businesses still under review. Based on documented losses, the average grant award in the first round was $17,000.
 
During Round 1, Salt Lake County found 45% of the businesses that applied were outside the main industries temporarily closed, but still felt the very real effects of COVID-19 and a need for more support. Another large segment of applicants received federal aid from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), but the loans were not enough to sustain businesses through this extended period of the disease’s spread.
While economic recovery will continue to be a long-term strategic effort, the County is committed to mitigating short-term effects in its collaborative effort to stabilize the economy.
 
In Round 2 of the SBIG Program launching immediately, all business industries are eligible to apply, as well as those who received other federal, state, or local COVID-19 aid. Those who received financial aid through CARES Act funding are eligible if their amount did not exceed $35,000. These changes will allow thousands of more businesses to apply and avoid taking on additional debt.
 
“Listening to business owners in the past month, we learned and assessed additional needs required to prevent our small businesses from closing,” said Salt Lake County’s Regional Development Director Dina Blaes. “After meeting the SBIG’s initial goals, this second round is in response to those developing needs. The County is uniquely positioned to pivot more quickly than federal programs, and we aim to get more money into the economy as fast as we can.”
 
The grant cannot be used for duplication of expenses in the same timeframe. It can be used for losses from March 16 to July 31. Applicants with questions are urged to call the County’s Business Relief Hotline, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at (385) 468-4011. Extensive FAQs are available online in multiple languages. The application is open and accessible at slco.org/covid-19/.

Invested in environmental issues in Salt Lake County? Give your input in a new survey.


July 22, 2020

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Environmental Survey 2020.jpg

Salt Lake County believes environmental services are a key part of the valley's future. This year, Regional Development is in the early stages of creating an environmental data portal.

The concept is to build a centralized platform to access data covering a wide spectrum of environmental issues. It will be publicly accessible, transparent, visually interesting, and easy to use and understand.

Examples of similar platforms are Salt Lake Health's COVID-19 Data Dashboard and Regional Development's Economic Information Portal.

Below is a simple survey, which will help guide this new project moving forward. As a member of the public, your input will be invaluable as we build out the platform and decide which data sets to highlight.

Take the survey here.

Please forward the survey to anyone in your network whose expertise would add insight to the survey's results. The more responses we receive, the better information we will have to build out the platform and future strategy for environmental services.

Questions? Contact Michael Shea at mshea@slco.org.


#DataTuesday: Salt Lake County Sees 2% Increase in May Taxable Sales, Restaurants Continue to Hurt


July 21, 2020

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Utah State Tax Commission released data for May’s taxable sales on July 16, providing another snapshot of Salt Lake County’s economy during COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Salt Lake County’s Economic Impact Working Group has worked with the State Tax Commission to get data sets faster to more quickly visualize local economic indicators on the Economic Impact Information Portal. A first glance of May 2020, Salt Lake County saw a 2.4% increase in total taxable sales over May 2019, which is a departure from April’s 5.9% decrease over the previous April. In May, online shopping taxable sales were the strongest and grew by $85.5 million dollars.

A graph depicts % change of taxable sales from March to May 2020.

On the flipside, restaurants and bars continue to feel the pain of large declines. In May, the industry saw upwards of $58 million decrease in sales – an improvement over April, but still the largest monetary decline of all Salt Lake County’s industries by far. This was also during the time of the State lifting some restrictions with color-coded phases, and COVID-19 cases in the County only totaling approximately 2,811 for the month.

Image Caption: The graph shown can be found in Dashboard 2, Page 5.

The restaurant industry’s May decrease can be seen on the Info Portal’s new dashboard page: 2019-2020 Taxable Sales Comparison, which allows users to directly compare data during COVID-19 months and view the dollar amount changed, as well as the percent change by major business categories.

Looking at the months of COVID-19 collectively, the industry with the greatest percentage decrease has now become Accommodations after inclusion of May’s preliminary data. The industry’s taxable sales have dropped 65%.

Because Salt Lake County is working to get data more quickly, it should be noted that the current data is preliminary and subject to revision due to late returns, amended returns, required statutory/regulatory changes, and others that impact tax return data. We would also like to note for County and city officials that this metric is different than the tax distribution they will receive for May.

Taxable sales data is obtained from sales tax returns from monthly, quarterly, and annual filers. Taxable sales data reported by quarterly and annual filers are included in the last month of each quarter and year. This results in relatively higher taxable sales numbers in filing periods at the end of each quarter.

The Info Portal, found at https://slco.org/slcomunidata/, is a new tool created during COVID-19 to help Salt Lake County assess the pandemic’s economic impact so policies and programs can aid in short- and long-term economic recovery.