Photo: Johnie Spencer of Spencer Marble & Granite accepts a $5,000 grant check from Jessica Hill, executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Corp. Tuesday at the County Administration Building. In an effort to assist local businesses harmed by Tropical Storm Harvey, the OCEDC awarded $5,000 Small Business Recovery Grants to 40 Orange County businesses.

Dave Rogers

For The Record

Forgive Jessica Hill if she felt a little bit like the Publishers Clearinghouse folks Tuesday.

The executive director of Orange County’s Economic Development Corporation spent the day Tuesday giving out checks.

She was issuing $200,000 worth of Harvey Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants issued by OCEDC to help qualifying small businesses in the aftermath of the record flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Each was for $5,000. Forty grants were awarded.

“Everything was very positive,” Hill said Tuesday afternoon. “Everyone is just delighted that we’ve made it through this process. It’s the first help they’ve received from anyone.

“They’re all small businesses, anywhere from retail to residential, attorneys, medical suppliers, a good mixture of different industries.”

The $200,000 was made available in part through the reallocation of the EDC’s restricted funds.

From Oct. 23-Nov. 3, a total of 148 applications were submitted.

“They started arriving early that first morning — really the night before,” Hill said of the people dropping off applications. “It went very smoothly.”

Applications were reviewed in the order they were submitted and verified by a committee of OCEDC board members.

The first 40 verified applications were awarded the funds. The remaining qualified applicants were noted in the order in which they were received and will be awarded grants if additional funds become available.

“I wish we could do more”, said Hill said. “There are 108 businesses we have not be able to assist and even more that did not apply.

“I am extremely thankful for the patience and cooperation of all those who submitted applications and served on the review committee. We have a long road of recovery ahead.”

The OCEDC is pursuing opportunities for additional resources, and will continue the verification and disbursement process if additional funds become available, Hill said.

“If more money becomes available, we’ll look to continue the support,” she said.