LETTER: Aurora COVID-19 loan or grant offer reflects concern for small businesses

EDITOR: In this time of concern and uncertainty, we as the Mayor and City Council Members of Aurora understand help is needed for many—especially for our local small businesses.

Businesses are the backbone of our community and economy, contributing so much to the benefit of residents. Without the money businesses generate and the jobs they create, the city would not be able to provide the many services it does to residents. So, we want to do our part to help them through this unprecedented time.

Today, we are announcing the Aurora Economic Relief Loan and Grant Program to help Aurora small businesses that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis with short-term economic help as they await other state and federal assistance. By asking businesses to use these funds to retain existing jobs, we can help ensure that both the businesses and their employees can better weather the crisis.

To start, the Aurora Economic Relief Loan and Grant Program, in cooperation with CEDS (Community Enterprise Development Services) Finance, is providing $1 million in assistance in the form of grants of up to $5,000 and low-interest loans of between $5,000 and $50,000. Intended to provide economic assistance to restaurant, retail, service and entertainment small businesses and arts-related nonprofits, the program will begin accepting applications starting this week at AuroraGov.org/AER. We are committed to a straightforward application and approval process to get this money into the hands of those who need it most as soon as possible.

We hope these small-business grants and loans offer some initial relief to our business community and benefit our residents at the same time by solidifying our economic future.

Throughout this public health crisis, we as a City Council continue to hold our regular meetings via teleconference to pursue the public interest. We are holding frequent briefings with city staff about the current state of the COVID-19 situation, maintaining critical city services, and what we as a city can do to make resources accessible to the community.

Many helpful tips and community and business resources are available on the city’s website at AuroraGov.org/COVID-19, including materials in 10 of the most spoken languages in Aurora.

Thank you, Aurora, for everything you’ve done to support one another during this difficult time. We are continually encouraged by the stories we hear of good works, neighborly behavior and support of our local businesses—all while honoring the Stay-at-Home order—that make us proud to be part of this city. We thank you for your trust.

Mayor Mike Coffman

Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Johnston, Ward 2

Council Member Crystal Murillo, Ward 1

Council Member Marsha Berzins, Ward 3

Council Member Juan Marcano, Ward 4

Council Member Alison Coombs, Ward 5

Council Member Francoise Bergan, Ward 6

Council Member Curtis Gardner, At-Large

Council Member Dave Gruber, At-Large

Council Member Allison Hiltz, At-Large

Council Member Angela Lawson, At-Large