The Wild West: Bills and Bill’s
New Laws = COVID-19 Business Support
On December 3 the Colorado General Assembly decided who and what businesses and industries would be eligible for COVID-19 funding relief as it closed out its 3-day 2020 special session. Later that same day, Colorado Governor Jared Polis made it a reality by signing those bills into law.
Seven key policy issues were the focus of the Governor’s call of the special session: small business relief; child care support; housing and direct rental assistance; increasing broadband access for P-12; food insecurity; utilities assistance; and public health response. After the three days of legislative work, the representatives adjourned, passing along the following bills including some sponsored by Lake County’s State Representative Julie McCluskie and State Senator Kerry Donovan. Here are the specifics:
HB20B-1001 — Grants to Improve Internet Access in P-12 Education
- The bill creates the Colorado Students Grant Program to provide $20M in grants to local education providers to use in providing broadband services and other technology for increased access for students, educators and other staff.
HB20B-1002 — Emergency Relief for Child Care Sector
- The bill creates two grant programs to support child care in the state and appropriates $45M for these programs.
HB20B-1003 – Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program
- The bill makes changes to the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program and appropriates $5M for the program.
HB20B-1004 — Qualified Retailer Retain Sales Tax For Assistance
- The bill allows qualifying retailers to temporarily deduct up to $70,000 in net taxable sales from their monthly state sales tax return and retain the resulting sales tax revenue for sales made in November and December 2020 and in January and February 2021. This bill applies to retailers in the alcoholic beverages drinking places industry, the restaurant and other eating places industry, and the mobile food services industry.
- The bill allows municipalities and counties to limit the fee that a third-party food delivery service may charge to a retail food establishment and place other restrictions on delivery services.
HB20B-1006 — Insurance Premium Tax Payments and Credits
- The bill makes changes to how insurance premium estimated taxes are paid, including adjusting how calendar quarter estimates are calculated and allowing each calendar quarterly estimate payment to include adjustments for any previous calendar quarter estimates of taxes including tax credits.
- The bill provides relief to small businesses, arts and cultural organizations, and minority-owned businesses. It appropriates $57.1M for these purposes.
SB20B-002 — Housing and Direct COVID Emergency Assistance
- The bill creates the Emergency Direct Assistance Grant Program in DOLA to support housing assistance programs. It transfers $60M from the General Fund for these purposes.
SB20B-003 — Money for Energy Utility Bill Payment Assistance
- The bill transfers $5M from the General Fund to the Energy Outreach Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund to provide direct energy bill payment assistance to low-income households.
- The bill transfers $100M from the General Fund to the Controlled Maintenance Trust Fund and allows the Governor to transfer these funds to the Disaster Emergency Fund for public health and critical response associated with the COVID-19 emergency.
There is help available to help you with understanding federal and state funding programs and PIVOT strategies.
- COVID-19 Disaster Resources & Grants – click here
- Statewide Business Training Webinars – click here
- Startup Colorado Resources – click here
The Belly Buster Grabs the Spotlight
Did you know that Wild Bill’s Restaurant is the longest continually owned-by-the-same person business in Leadville Today? That’s right, while some Cloud City eateries can claim generations in the same family, according to the Wild Bill’s Facebook Page, no one else has ever run or managed the restaurant but the original owner. So if you don’t know him already, meet Bill Zeisel, aka Wild Bill who created the long-standing burger joint on main street’s south end in September 1982.
“And to think I was only 21 when I started it!” Zeisel recalled. Of course, Wild Bill’s saw some good years in the early 80s as The Climax Mine had not seen its heartiest lay-offs yet. But by the 1990s, like many Leadville eateries, the crowds had thinned out along with local bank accounts and residents.
As the 21st century came into focus, Wild Bill’s was still holding on, endeared by locals who made the burger joint a must-stop for graduation days and birthday celebrations. And how many Leadville Trail 100 champions swelled with pride as they received their Belly Buster Burger certificate from Wild Bill’s as part of their podium prize back in the early days?!
But then came a downturn in the national economy in 2008. Most Leadville main street businesses were hanging on tight or hanging a For Sale sign and heading for greener pastures. By 2017, after years on the market, and a couple of price reductions, Wild Bill’s decided to close its doors. It was time for a major overhaul, it was time to regroup if the restaurant had any chance of survival.
Locals wondered if they would ever re-open. After all, the new hopefuls had moved in and were hanging their own restaurant shingles, promoting micro-brews and fancy foodie offerings. But as the months clicked by there was always some noticeable activity, indicating the flame had not gone out completely at Wild Bill’s. And then last summer the new paint job cast a ray of sunshine on the corner of E. 2nd and Harrison Avenue. Finally, two weeks into the New Year the small unassuming green letters spelled it all out: O-P-E-N. Wild Bill’s was back!
And so are many of your old favorites, from the Belly Buster Burger to their Shrimp Dinner Basket and lately, the locals have been raving about the Rueben sandwich. The restaurant does have public health restrictions in place and at this date is offering to-go orders and outside dining on their newly updated patio where you can watch all of the activity on historic Harrison Avenue.
“We’re doing okay,” stated Wild Bill when asked how the eatery has been faring during the pandemic. In fact, the burger joint was recently written up in the nationally syndicated News Break website because it was featured in Only in Colorado, nominated by a local Wild Bill fan.
Hey, sometimes you just have to celebrate the little things. And the BIG things – like the return of Wild Bill’s Restaurant to historic Harrison Avenue. Welcome back, Bill, Tammy – and crew! Wild Bill’s Restaurant is located at 200 Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville. You can connect on the Wild Bill’s Facebook Page, or by phone at 719-486-0533. Their hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Daily.