By Melinda Munson

The Skagway Borough Assembly unanimously passed the 2021 Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG) on Aug. 2, which outlines how $1.2 million of the original $2 million Norwegian Cruise Line donation will be distributed.

“…I applaud the efforts of the financial committee for developing this program,” said Assemblymember Sam Bass. “I’m glad to see they were able to work in a mechanism to allow for scalability. I think that’s important…”  

The program allows for payments of no less than $1,000 and no more than $40,000 to eligible businesses.

“The $1,000 is to ensure that everyone’s covered, even our smallest of businesses … the $40,000 cap is just to ensure that nobody’s getting a significant amount more than anyone so the little guy can still get a portion of the pie,” said Assemblymember Reba Hylton.

Businesses must be located in Skagway, have a 2021 state and municipal business license, have been in existence as of March 11, 2020 and lost at least 20% in gross annual income from 2019 to 2020.

Businesses that received “industry specific grants” greater than $5,000 from programs such as Restaurant Revitalization, Shuttered Venue, Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services, USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Agriculture and CARES Act Relief for Fishery do not qualify for the SBRG.

The award formula is based on each business’ annual lost revenue from 2019 to 2020 as reported on taxes, but will take into account any grants, forgiven loans and business expenses.

Skagway Development Corp. (SDC) will administer the program, with the municipality paying up to $25,000 in administrative fees.

Mayor Andrew Cremata praised the assembly for their efforts.

“…I think you guys, working independently, came up with a really efficient way of distributing this money that seems to be well received by most everyone in the community. So, good work,” he said.

Assemblymembr Jay Burnham thanked the community for their input, and particularly Kaitlyn Jared of SDC.

“A big shout out to Kaitlyn. We came up with some ideas and she just ran with it. She made a wonderful program on just a few ideas,” Burnham said.