Second round of "Shop Local and Save" to begin Nov. 20


October 29, 2020

Another round of the CARES Act-funded “Shop Local and Save” program is on the way.

Earlier this month, the Haines Chamber of Commerce and Haines Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) collaborated on the program that awarded $100 in gift certificates, paid for by $20,000 in CARES Act funds, to the first 200 people who spent $300 on discretionary purchases in town. The program closed in 13 days after residents spent more than $60,000 locally, exhausting program funds.

The second round of the program, approved by the Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday, is designed to give local businesses a boost during the holiday shopping season. It will begin on Nov. 20 and run through Dec. 7.

In an effort to target those with less discretionary spending money, the program threshold has been lowered to $200 for the second round. Those who spend at least $200 on discretionary items in town will receive $100 in gift certificates for participating local businesses of their choice, which must be used by Dec. 31. Individuals can submit up to two applications for the program.

While the first round of the program received $22,000 in funding, 10% of which went toward administrative costs, this round is funded at $44,000.

According to calculations by the chamber and HEDC, the second round will result in a minimum of $120,000 in discretionary spending, $80,000 in local spending plus $40,000 in gift certificates. This translates to at least $6,600 in sales tax for the borough. And the revenue will likely be higher.

“Certain program specifications are in place to result in a likely program spending total within the $150,000 to $170,000 range,” as it is unlikely people will spend exactly $200 and may spend additional funds when they go to cash in gift certificates, the program proposal submitted to the assembly reads.

Other CARES Act spending proposals approved at Tuesday’s assembly meeting include allocating an additional $11,821 to the Southeast Alaska State Fair in order to leverage the maximum match awarded under a Rasmuson Foundation grant for arts and culture organizations, authorizing the full funding of the individual grant program so that the borough can begin cutting checks to qualified individuals immediately, and reallocating leftover funds from wastewater treatment plant projects to other coronavirus-related projects at the plant.

Although the borough originally allocated $625,000 for the individual grant program, it has received applications totaling $768,500. The borough is still working to determine whether certain applicants are eligible. The program is for Haines residents who expect to make less than $40,000 this year and have suffered economic losses due to the pandemic. Borough staff recommended the assembly fully-fund the program to speed up the process for awarding grants as the money needs to be spent by the end of the year.

After Tuesday’s meeting, the assembly has somewhere between $26,216 and $169,716 left to allocate of the total $4 million it received through the CARES Act, depending on how many applicants end up qualifying for the individual grant program. As of Oct. 22, the borough had distributed $2,156,136.

The assembly’s CARES Act ad hoc committee meets next on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m.


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