AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF OCCUPANCY TAX PROCEEDS CREDITED TO THE TOURISM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FUND TO BE USED IN BUNCOMBE COUNTY FOR ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO BUSINESSES SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED BY THE COVID-19 EPIDEMIC.
Includes several whereas clauses.
Authorizes the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) to provide up to $5 million to an agency experienced in emergency management funding for grants to assist small businesses that have closed or been otherwise significantly affected due to the economic hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 epidemic with the cost of recommencing business activities. Requires TDA to provide the funding from available funds credited to the Tourism Product Development Fund and without regard for the provisions typically required for the expenditure of monies in that Fund.
Details seven requirements and restrictions for grants made under the program, including a grant cap of $50,000 per business and reporting requirements for TDA to report to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on the program. Sets out six criteria businesses must meet to be eligible for grants, including that the business has been engaged in Buncombe County primarily prior to January 1, 2020, in an activity that promotes tourism and patronage of lodging facilities in the county, that the business employed at least two but less than 200 full-time equivalent employees, that after the state of emergency the business has ceased as a result of demonstrable economic loss in revenue due to the epidemic at the time of application or can demonstrate significant economic loss and change in operations due to the epidemic at the time of application. Excludes businesses engaged in lodging from eligibility. Requires awards to cease six months following the date the state of emergency ends.