Oakland County Helps Small Businesses Cover Costs with Stabilization Fund

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When Oakland County first created its Small Business Stabilization Fund, awarding $2.3 million to 800 companies, Executive David Coulter was surprised to see 7,300 applications roll in. The funds requested totaled $80 million, acknowledged Coulter in today’s Tele-Town Hall.

The county board of commissioners agreed that round two of the funds needed to be bigger. In response to the overwhelming amount of applications, the board approved an additional $12 million to allow additional grants to more of the small businesses that had already applied. With 93% of Oakland County’s businesses being small, the stabilization fund was critical, emphasized Coulter.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, our business community has stepped up,” said Coulter, noting that the county set aside $1 million to assist manufacturers in pivoting to make personal protective equipment (PPE).

Detroit Regional President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah asked Coulter during the discussion about the confusion with having counties issuing different or additional regulations from the state’s. This could make following different regulations throughout Michigan difficult for businesses with multiple locations.

Coulter said that he doesn’t want a patchwork of requirements for businesses among counties and that it’s important for the state to take the lead and give good clear guidance. He assured that when it comes to enforcement, the county is taking more of a guidance route.

“You can’t take a heavy-handed approach to this in my opinion,” said Coulter. “What this requires is a trust and a bond.”

This trust between the county and business community means voluntary compliance of COVID-19 related regulations is necessary to continue essential operations safely, explained Coulter. Voluntary compliance must continue as the governor’s administration prepares to allow more people to return to work.

“It’s a balance of public safety first and economic considerations as well, making sure you’re doing those simultaneously,” said Coulter.

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