CLEARFIELD COUNTY, PA (WTAJ) — Many business owners say they’re struggling due to the effects of the pandemic. While grants from the federal CARES Act can help, one local business owner believes her application was unfairly denied.
The owner at Cinderellas Boutique in Clearfield says she isn’t the only one who was denied the CARES Act grant. Now without it, she’s on the verge of shutting down sooner than she thought. Annette Stiver says she’s been struggling since the pandemic began. She applied for the CARES Act grant money in August and was denied. Since March she says “I have sold one prom dress, one wedding gown and five white bridesmaid dresses so my sales have dropped dramatically.”
From her understanding, commissioners provided the grant if a business’s “gross” income this year was lower than last year’s. But in Stiver’s case, it was her “net” income that was lower and that’s why she says she was denied. After attending a county meeting, she says commissioners “had a 2 to 1 vote to change the criteria that were set by the state treasury from the gross revenue to profit and loss.”
Clearfield County Commissioner, Dave Glass says “I would hope that people would agree with us that if a business is doing better this year than they did last year, doesn’t really deserve to have a CARES grant because this money is supposed to be helping the ones most in need.” However, Stiver is claiming that she is in need and can barely stay open. She is also accusing commissioners of using this money for what she says are inappropriate county projects. But Commissioner, Tony Scotto says “we’re not using this on any pet projects, what we are using it on is to maintain to be able for this county government to function.”
Clearfield commissioners received 7.1 million dollars to distribute. They say they’ve helped about a hundred businesses. But according to their list of guidelines, they cannot help everyone. They tell us that they are trying to help local businesses and are still encouraging them to apply for the second round of grant money. The deadline is Monday, November 15th.