City of Ballarat councillors will decide whether to provide businesses and community groups with a $1 million COVID support package at Wednesday night's council meeting.
If approved, the package would provide a one-off grant of $500 to businesses and $250 to community groups that can show a 'significant' decrease in revenue.
Also included in the package is the waiving of a series of fees and interest on outstanding rates from the 2021-22 financial year and the continuation of council's financial hardship policy.
The package would be capped at $1 million with funding to be allocated from under expenditure from the last financial year while another $309,000 would be allocated from the same source to cover other proposed support and relief measures.
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The package was announced more than a week ago by chief executive Evan King and Mayor Daniel Moloney, long before regional Victoria entered lockdown for the seventh time.
Mr King said, if approved, council would make the package as easy to access as possible.
"We've got to balance that with a range of government requirements to make sure that we allocate funds appropriately and we can demonstrate value for money to our ratepayers," he said.
"The last thing we want to do is force community groups and businesses to have to spend money to apply for the grants in the end."
Mr King said businesses and community groups could be able to provide a range of evidence regarding their loss of revenue including business activity statements, letters from accountants or statutory declarations.
"Just wanting to make sure that it covers all groups and doesn't put more administrative burden onto both community groups and businesses that are being impacted significantly by COVID-19 lockdowns," he said.
If the package is approved, Mr King said online applications could be open by the end of the week, with grants flowing within two weeks of applications being submitted.
"We understand these grants aren't the solution to everyone's financial challenges as part of COVID... It really is about giving them a grant so if they've got rent to be paid, if they've got utility bills, here's some funding to help them get by over the short term and hopefully we can support them in doing that."
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