Gilbert Chamber Issues Statement in Support of #GilbertTogether Grant Program

September 28, 2020

Dear Mayor Anderson and Members of Gilbert Town Council:

On behalf of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, I am writing in support of the proposed #GilbertTogether Business Recovery Grant program, with a recommended allocation of $11 million committed to grants for immediate financial assistance to Gilbert’s businesses and non-profit organizations.

The Office of Economic Development has developed a strong application process for which to award grants to businesses; the approach is sophisticated and provides opportunity for an individualized response to the needs of Gilbert’s businesses while maintaining objectivity, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Time is of the essence. Members of Town Council should move quickly to provide financial relief to the very businesses who have contributed to the tax base, employability, and desirability of Gilbert. Increasingly, I hear of the financial hardships faced by local businesses, especially those representing industries which were impacted by extended closures and are still required to limit capacity because of COVID-19.

A Gilbert-based survey conducted in August 2020 with more than 300 respondents indicated that a large majority of businesses (88%) had already accessed their reserve accounts and 42% had used at least half while trying to stay in operation. Accordingly, 45% reported applying for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, of which roughly 1/3 of those who applied did not receive funding; and 65% applied for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program; 58% received funds. In many cases, these funds have been exhausted even as the ability to conduct business is still restricted.

I appreciate the thorough and diligent work conducted by the members of the Town Council’s CARES Act subcommittee, along with Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development, as they reviewed the opportunities for allocation and distribution of Gilbert’s CARES Act funds. The spirit of inclusivity and outreach to the business community during this time is to be commended.

Respectfully,

Sarah Watts

President/CEO

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce