The Delphi City Council ultimately gave the authority of deciding the outcome of the recent Small Business Resilience Grants to Mayor Shane Evans. Evans devised the application and the Council approved the timeline. As the granting process was in progress, the application requirements were amended as was the timeline. The final tally, announced at a special Delphi Board of Works meeting Tuesday morning, resulted in 36 of the 37 applicants receiving the amount they requested. The one business which was not awarded a grant was Wallmann’s Grocery Store.

The City Council met last week to approve an additional appropriation from the Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) of $100,000 in the event the money was needed. The Council previously agreed to use $98,600 from the Rainy Day Fund for the grants, if needed. The City was awarded $198,600 from the state in the form of an Indiana Office of Community Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant, pending financial information being provided from each qualifying business. Businesses that do not qualify for OCRA funds include not-for-profits and those that do not issue W-2s to their employees. The OCRA excluded recipients will receive local taxpayer funds for their grants.

The list of businesses approved for the grants, which totals $161,019.06, provided by Mayor Evans to the Comet, is:

ALLBQ’s – $5,000;
Artemis – $5,000;
Baldwin Auto Supply -$5,000;
Blue Moose – $5,000;
Brick and Mortar Pub – $5,000;
Carroll County Country Club – $5,000;
Carroll County VFW – $5,000;
Center Stage Dance Academy – $5,000;
China 1 Buffett – $5,000;
Country Hair II – $4,100;
Creative Photography by Jodi – $830;
D&J Property Management – $4,000;
Delphi Opera House – $5,000;
Delphi Preservation Society – $5,000;
Delphi Variety – $5,000;
Fielding’s – $5,000;
Flower Shoppe II – $5,000;
Hometown Shirts & Graphix – $5,000;
Ikonik Graphix – $5,000;
Inc. Empire LLC d/b/a Empire Consignment – $5,000;
Indiana Fitness Club – $5,000;
JC’s Bar & Grill – $5,000;
Morrow Shoe Shop – $5,000;
Oden’s Den Tattoo Parlor – $4,839.06;
Opera House Gallery – $1,250;
Reid Sales Music Company – $5,000;
Sand Tones Hair and Tanning & Nails – $5,000;
Sandwich Shop – $1,000;
Shelby’s Barbershop – $1,000;
Stonehouse Restaurant & Bakery – $5,000;
T&T Delphi Pizza King -$5,000;
TMP Holdings – $5,000;
Treasurers in the Woods – $4,000;
Wilson’s Professional Lawn Care – $5,000; and
WP Electric – $5,000.

The Board of Works approved the claims for each of the grant recipients at the Tuesday morning meeting. It was decided to avoid any potential conflict of interest, Board of Works member Dick Bradshaw would not vote to approve the claim for the Delphi Pizza King and Board of Works member Anita Werling would not vote to approve the claims for the Delphi Opera House and the Delphi Preservation Society. Evans advised there is no “legal” conflict of interest, however there could be a perception of a conflict for both Board of Works members.

Evans said he will hand-deliver the checks to the businesses with a grant contract for the business to sign. He said the grant agreements require reporting on grant use in mid-June and again in mid-July. The contract states reports should contain copies of invoices or bills and copies of checks issued using Grant funds. According to the contract, “The Grant Agreement shall commence on May 12, 2020 and shall remain in effect through July 12, 2020 (the “Expiration Date”), unless sooner terminated as described in this Grant Agreement. The closeout process must be initiated within 30 days after the Expiration Date. The Grantee may request in writing that the Expiration Date be extended.”

In addition, the contract states, “The Grantee shall comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances, and all provisions required thereby to be included herein are hereby incorporated by reference. The enactment or modification of any applicable state or federal statute or the promulgation of rules or regulations thereunder after execution of this Grant Agreement shall be reviewed by the City and the Grantee to determine whether the provisions of this Grant Agreement require formal modification.”

“None of the applicants indicated they had outstanding state or local tax or fee obligations or outstanding liens or legal judgements,” Evans told the Comet Tuesday after the Board of Works meeting.

The Comet contacted Matt McKean of Wallmann’s Grocery about the business’ omission from the approval list Tuesday.

“It hurts just a little bit,” McKean said.

The reason provided to explain the exclusion of the local grocery store was because the business employed 26 employees at the time of the submission of the application. The grant application indicated only businesses with 25 or fewer employees would be considered.

McKean said the City Council changed other rules before the awards were granted, such as when the applications were due, but they refused to change the rule about the number of employees. McKean said he has only nine full-time employees and all others are part-time.

“I was taken back why they couldn’t make this exception,” McKean continued. “I hand-delivered the application to the city building and I included a letter of explanation about the number of employees.”

“It was clear that nobody read the letter,” he concluded. “This is frustrating.”

McKean said he reached out to Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Director Julia Leahy and to the Greater Delphi Chamber of Commerce President Anita Werling for one or both to represent him to the City Council in this matter. McKean said Wallmann’s is a member of both chambers, however neither represented his interests.

“No one said a thing,” he said.
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