Lexington City Council denies additional money for small business relief program, further discussions set for spring

LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — Business owners in Lexington will have to find new ways to…

LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — Business owners in Lexington will have to find new ways to make up for lost income.

During the city council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7, members failed to motion a new business-relief program.

The program was drafted by Main Street Lexington, a community organization that often partners with the city regarding business intel.

These days, the streets of downtown Lexington are oddly quiet, with no shoppers in sight.

Community leaders say increasing COVID-19 cases in the region aren’t the only factors. It’s also due to seasonal downturn, a time when people are less likely to shop right after the holidays.

Small businesses in the area taking the hardest hit.

In the new business-relief program, known as “Lex Bucks,” monetary vouchers would be given to more than 2,000 residents through their utility bills in an effort to promote local shopping.

“We did some research with some other communities that have done that sort of program, and we also pulled our businesses to see how they felt about the various different ways to do it,” said Rebecca Logan, Executive Director of Main Street Lexington.

Trez Sebrell is the manager at Ladles and Linens on Main Street.

During the holiday season, she says business was better than expected.

“We weren’t quite sure what to see in the holiday time, but we were very pleasantly surprised with the support we got from our locals. They really did turn out to help us,” Sebrell said.

But since the beginning of the new year, sales have dropped.

Sebrell says the program couldn’t come at a better time.

“I think that if it’s something that can get people out of their homes and shopping downtown, it’s fantastic,” said Sebrell.

Lexington residents agree, saying they’ll do anything to keep their small community thriving.

“Anything that would be helpful to the Lexington community, to the business community,” Hamilton Greene said. “This is my home.”

City council tabled the proposal over a variety of concerns, including potential fraud, allocated funds, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Council members will reconvene with the idea in the spring.

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