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City approves small business aid

BY FRED PETKE

Sun Reporter

Beginning Monday, small businesses in Winchester will be able to apply for up to $1,000 in financial aid.

The Winchester Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to create the program with $50,000 available from the city’s CARES funding.

Applications will be accepted from Monday, Jan. 25 through Friday, Feb. 5.

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the program is designed to help businesses in town which were closed during 2020 by government order.

Full-time businesses with a physical location can receive up  to $1,000, while part-time businesses are eligible for a maximum of $400. Home-based businesses and franchise or franchise-affiliated business are not eligible.

To be eligible, a business must

• have a physical location within the city in a business, professional or industrial zone;

• own the building or have a lease;

• be current on city property taxes, have a business license and have reported all payroll taxes;

• have a less than $100,000 in net profits during 2019 or have less than 10 employees;

• not be a franchise or affiliated with a franchise;

• be categorized as a non-essential business; and

• be listed as an eligible business and still be operating.

Eligible businesses are retail stores, barber or beauty salons, sit-down restaurants or small businesses closed by the governor’s executive orders.

Burtner said aid will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.

“I think $50,000 is a healthy amount to help our small businesses,” Burtner said.

The program, he said, was based on one implemented by Mount Sterling. Versailles, Richmond and Woodford County have also implemented similar programs, he said.

Following a lengthy discussion, the commissioners voted to close a portion of Bell’s Alley between Gay Street and Lexington Avenue. Officials from Central Baptist Church requested the closure, as the alley runs between the church and its parking lot, and has caused safety concerns.

Tom and Anna Bruce Kostelnik, who own property at 4 Gay St. opposed the measure, saying it would limit access to their property and no other measures had been taken to slow traffic in the alley.

After more than an hour of discussion, the commission voted 4-0 to close the portion of the alley provided the church sign an agreement the Kostelniks will always be able to access their property.

Commissioner Shannon Cox recused himself from the vote.

In other action, the commission:

• approved grant opportunities for Winchester Fire-EMS from the Kentucky Fire Commission.

• approved a Kentucky Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program project application.

• approved a request from the Winchester-Clark County tourism commission for $15,000 in CARES funds for tourism marketing.

• approved a resolution supporting state transportation funding.

• approved the second reading of an ordinance to create up to $135 million in industrial building revenue bonds for Danimer Scientific.

• approved the first reading of an ordinance to add items to the FY 2021 budget.

• rescinded orders establishing an employment contract fir new firefighters at Winchester Fire-EMS.

• approved the second reading of Winchester Police policies regarding use of force and police pursuits.

• hired Tom Beall as patrolman III for Winchester Police Department.

• reclassified Nicholas Steinforth and Peter Westhoff from single role paramedic to firefighter I/paramedic.

• reclassified Kelly Webster to police officer III/EMT.

• reclassified Tina Pendleton from communications officer I to communications officer III.

• accepted the resignation of Hunter Gomez, maintenance worker II.

• reclassified Sarah Campbell from administrative assistant I/receptionist to administrative assistant II/receptionist.

• accepted the resignation of Jeffrey Frazier, single role EMT.

• accepted the resignation of Charles Juett, firefighter III/EMT.

• reclassified James Parks from maintenance worker to operator I.

• reclassified Tyler Pelfrey from maintenance worker I to maintenance worker II.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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