The Town of Montross has been looking to see what it can do to bring businesses into the area. At the most recent Town Council meeting, several business incentive programs were unveiled. This marks the next step in the town’s revitalization efforts

The first was referred to as a revolving loan program, where a prospective owner and current businesses can borrow up to $35,000 at a 3% interest rate on a 10-year repayment schedule.

The second, meanwhile, was rent assistance, which would subsidize the cost of rent for a year for vacant business properties in the town, or to assist in expenditures that are directly related to the operations of a new business. The business in turn signs on to a three-year lease with the property owner, though the owner is encouraged to only charge rental for the first year of the town’s grant amount, which in this case, is $7,500.

It was also emphasized in the packet that was passed out that the Business Rent Assistance Program was a forgivable grant rather than a loan or a “straight” grant program. If the BRAP recipient defaults, whether it’s by closing their business or fails to fulfill the 3-year lease agreement, the town can hold them liable for refunding the money paid by the town for rent assistance and for any expenditures or legal fees due to breach of contract. Once the recipient has fulfilled the grant requirements, they will be forgiven and no longer held liable for repayment of rent paid, fees or expenses.

The plans were not voted on that night, owing partly to what Mayor Terry Cosgrove described as there being “a lot to digest.” Instead, the plans will be voted on at the council’s meeting this month, on April 27.

Overall, Mayor Cosgrove is optimistic about the program, hoping that it should be just the sort of incentive for bringing more commerce to the town, which would both reduce the number of vacant buildings and increase local employment for job seekers.

“Our goal is to fill up all of the vacant buildings in town,” Cosgrove continued, “and hopefully bring some new businesses or relocating businesses downtown. It’s a pretty slick program, I think. Some of it will be up to the property owners and landlords to give a little bit back, but it seems like a good opportunity for them to be assured a reasonable rate.”