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Olton Emergency Business Grant Program established

Deadline to apply is May 7, 2020

Olton Economic Development Corp. directors have approved the COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant program to provide working capital for businesses experiencing a loss due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The grants can cover personnel costs, rent, utilities and critical business equipment or supplies for existing small businesses within the city of Olton. The business must be experiencing a loss of business. Olton EDC serves as the funding source, but members of the Olton City Council will determine which businesses receive grants.

“Qualified applicants will be eligible for economic development grants for businesses who can demonstrate direct negative impacts on their business related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the EDC said in a statement Tuesday, April 28. “Award amounts will depend on total number of qualifying applicants and funds available.”

Olton EDC will present qualified applications to the Olton City Council for approval. “Preference will be given to businesses that are not classified as an Essential Business and to Essential Businesses whose operations are restricted under state or local orders,” according to the statement.

There is a limit of one grant per applicant, per funding period, and this funding period expires at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 7, 2020. However, it can be extended by Olton City Council at a later date.

“Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as a limited amount of funding is available for this program,” Olton EDC said.

To qualify for funding applicants must meet the following criteria:

•Business must be located in the corporate city limits of Olton;

•Business must be in compliance with all applicable zoning, land use, and other city ordinances;

•Applicant must have a business with 20 or fewer employees;

•Applicant must demonstrate a negative financial impact has occurred due to COVID-19; and,

•Applicant must be current on all property and sales taxes due.

Eligible expenditures for grant funding include:

•Lease or commercial mortgage payments,

•Payroll;

•Utility payments; and,

•Critical business equipment or supplies

Applicants are encouraged to submit a fully completed application to City Administrator Keeley Adams at Olton City Hall. Application must be addressed to “Economic Development Board.”

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Qualifying low-risk Olton businesses can reopen

Some non-essential Olton businesses closed when a Declaration of Disaster was issued March 31 are now able to reopen if approved for Low-Risk Business status.The Low-Risk Business designation allows businesses that have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic to re-open as long as they institute safe practices to ensure the health of the community.Late Thursday afternoon, April 16, 202, Mayor Mark McFadden and City Administrator Keeley Adams announced that businesses able to qualify for Low-Risk Business status can re-open immediate upon certification. And it’s an easy process — download the Low Risk Business Work Safe Plan Form, complete the three-page document, and return it to Olton City Hall.“A low-risk business must be able to keep all employees and customers at least six feet apart at all times, never exceed gatherings of more than five people, take extra measures to sanitize common surfaces, and ensure employees and customers maintain hygiene practices,” McFadden said.“Just complete the Low-Risk Business Safe Work Plan and bring it to City Hall,” Adams said. “We will have you ready to go in about two minutes.”“Businesses can be open tomorrow,” the mayor said.The form is basically is an agreement the business owner signs to affirm safe practices and distancing will take place. Those practices include:

  • Minimizing employees on site, minimizing in-person meetings, and allowing employees to work from home when possible.
  • Making sanitation supplies available to employees, including disinfectants and hand sanitizer comprised of at least 60 percent alcohol and soap.
  • Providing hand sanitization such as soap and water to customers.
  • Sending home any employee who reports possible exposure to or shows symptoms of COVID-19 and immediately sanitizing that employee’s work area.
  • Mandating that employees clean and sanitize work areas at least twice a day.
  • Requiring thorough cleaning and sanitation of all common areas and surfaces at least once during the workday.
  • Screening all employees prior to work.
  • Adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Texas Department of Health Services guidelines.

Once the form is returned, it is reviewed and then approved by McFadden.“Adherence to these rules, and the sound public health principles that support them, will provide optimal protection for the people of our community,” the mayor said.While Low-Risk Business status is expected to help retailers like Flourish Flowers & Gifts, Main Street Gifts, and Matarow Metal & Gifts, it won’t help some other businesses.“It’s not going to help places like hair salons and our restaurants because of the close contact that would happen, but maybe we can get a few businesses open again,” McFadden said.Adams said the goal has been to have businesses open while ensuring customers and employees remain safe during the pandemic.The Low Risk Business Work Safe Plan Form was created in consultation with City Attorney Lanny Voss.McFadden and Adams, who serve as the city’s emergency coordinators, are encouraging business owners to communicate their needs so that they can help them keep Olton residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting the local economy. 

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City of Olton COVID-19 News

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Only one person at a time allowed in Olton City Hall

The City of Olton is requesting residents make use of the drop box located on the left-hand side of the front door at City Hall to help protect individuals from the coronavirus.

The lobby is now limited to one person at a time during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Water payments can be left in the drop box. Call City Hall at 806-285-2611 to request a balance or set up an appointment to pick up change and a receipt of a water bill payment. 

Also, paperwork can be dropped off in the drop box to renew vehicle registrations. Call to make an appointment to pick up the paperwork. It can also be renewed online at TXDMV.GOV. Law enforcement officers have given a 60-day grace period for expired registrations during this time of pandemic. 

City officials are requesting residents follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines, which can be found on Page 3. The CDC states that six feet need to be between you and the nearest person. Also the City has announced that if an individual has been out of the country or is running a fever, coughing or has been exposed to anyone who has been, they will not be allowed into the lobby. 

If any other city services are needed, contact City Hall at 806-285-2611.

Olton Area Library open by appointment only

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the doors of Olton Area Library have been locked, but the library remains open by appointment.

“Olton Area Library is continuing to work closely with Lamb County to monitor the developing information,” Librarian Jocy Mandrell said. “Our highest priority is the health, safety and well-being of our community members, so Olton Area Library is working to monitor the latest information and guidelines provided by the CDC related to the Novel Coronavirus.”

However, Mandrell said Olton Area Library remains open and she and her staff are working regular library hours.

“One person at a time is allowed inside library if you call and make an appointment,” the librarian said. “We are happy to pick up and deliver from your car. The door slot can be used for check-in and check-out.”

During the pandemic, the library is encouraging patrons to take advantage of the digital technology offered.

“We highly encourage you to use our digital services from the comfort of your home by visiting https://westtexas.overdrive.com/ or downloading the Libby App,” Mandrell said. “There are e-books, audiobooks and movies to enjoy from any device.”

And patrons not having Wi-fi can simply work from outside the library building.

“Wi-Fi is available and works outside the building,” the librarian said.

The password to use the library’s Wi-F is “miss kitty”.

Mandrell recommended that library patrons follow Olton Area Library on social media @oltonarealibrary for the latest updates.

“The library will continue to work closely with our county to monitor developing information,” she said.

The library can be reached by phone by calling 806-285-7772 or 806-774-0021

City asks business owners to complete COVID-19 survey

Survey deadline is April 30

City of Olton officials seek ways to help local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To garner the best information, they are asking all business owners to fill out a survey. 

Olton Mayor Mark McFadden explained to the Olton City Council Monday night that they are looking for avenues to help small businesses that are affected by unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The mayor, City Council, and city administrator are concerned about you and your business as we are all are going through uncharted waters with COVID-19,” the survey states. 

“Our goal is to understand and capture your business needs as we strive to help coordinate informational resources between our government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times.”

The survey is available for pickup at Olton City Hall or Olton Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. It can be also be downloaded below

City Administrator Keeley Adams stresses that the answers on the survey are confidential and will only be used to help businesses navigate these uncertain times.

Questions are basic business informational questions and estimated adverse economic impact questions, and the survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete, he said.

Adams is requesting the survey be returned to Olton City Hall by April 30. 

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Olton mayor declares State of Disaster