LISBON – Local small businesses hit hard by COVID-19 and the government’s response to the pandemic can apply for financial assistance under a program launched by Columbiana County commissioners.
Under the program, eligible businesses can apply for up to $ 10,000 under what’s called the County Small Business Relief Grant program. A grant does not have to be repaid.
“I’m sure some businesses have been hit hard and they could definitely use the money,” said Commissioner Jim Hoppel, speaking at Wednesday’s committee meeting. “This will give us the opportunity to help them. “
To fund the program, commissioners are using $ 250,000 of the $ 2.2 million received so far under the Federal Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed by Congress in April. to help affected federal, state and local governments, businesses and individuals. by the fallout from COVID-19.
To be eligible for the new grant program, the business must have employed no more than 50 people as of March 22, have less than $ 3 million in gross revenue / annual revenue, and have experienced a 35% drop in revenue over the course of a period of 30 days. compared to March-September 2019.
Applicants are required to disclose if they have received any other COVID-19 relief, such as through the Payment Protection Program or the Emergency Loan Program. Tad Herold, director of the county’s economic development office, said the goal was to help small businesses that might not qualify for any of the other aid programs.
“I understand there are a lot of small businesses that weren’t eligible or couldn’t get funding.” through other assistance programs, he said. “It’s really to help the businesses on Main Street, at least that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Non-qualifying businesses include adult entertainment, banks, savings and loans, credit unions, e-commerce, liquor stores, vaping shops, tobacco shops, health clinics. cannabis and franchise businesses that are not locally owned or independently operated.
Eligible expenses include mortgage payments, rent or lease payments, non-government utility bills, salaries, materials and supplies, personal protective equipment, and replacement of lost income for owner businesses. unique.
For more details and to download an app, Herold advises companies to go to their website at oed.columbianacodev.org and click on the links. The County Port Authority and the new County Tourism Board are also helping to administer the program.
Herold said they were working under tight deadlines. Uncommitted CARES money must be returned to the county treasurer by November 20 so the money can be used elsewhere in the county. The federal government wants all unspent money returned by December 31.
“Applicants have the next two weeks to submit their applications so that we can get them approved and the money spent” he said, adding that the looming deadline was the reason they had only allocated $ 250,000 to the grant program.
As mentioned above, CARES money can be spent on the portion of wages incurred to deal with COVID-19. Herold pointed out that commissioners had approved the use of $ 67,124 of CARES funding to reimburse the county health department for staff costs related to the coronavirus.