By Dedra Cordle
Small businesses and non-profit organizations that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to receive financial assistance through a new program in Jackson Township.
At its meeting in late April, the board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution which allowed the body to set aside a portion of its federal pandemic relief funding to aid in assuring the survival of businesses and organizations within the unincorporated areas.
Trustee Jim Rauck said the board has been mulling the idea for this program for months and they are happy to finally be able to offer it to the local community.
“We thought it would be a good opportunity to use our extra federal funds to try to pick up the small businesses and non-profits that were financially harmed by the pandemic,” he said.
According to Township Administrator Shane Farnsworth, the board will set aside $50,000 in grant funding for eligible small businesses and $50,000 for eligible non-profit organizations. He added that the resolution that was approved last month is considered a permissible use of federal funds so long as they follow the guidelines put forth by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
“These guidelines are driven by the treasury department, not Jackson Township,” he said. “Because we will be following these strict guidelines, not every business or non-profit that applies will be able to access these funds. I should also state that not every eligible small business or non-profit who applies will be able to access these funds as they are on a first come, first serve basis.
“Still, we want them to look at the application when it comes online, apply if they think they are eligible, and we will work hard to make sure they receive whatever funding is available to them.”
So what exactly could make a small business or non-profit organization eligible for the grant program? For starters, to be considered for a small business relief grant, the business had to be a “physical storefront” in the township that experienced revenue loss or incurred unplanned costs substantially caused by COVID-19. It also has to be poised to make a strong recovery.
Additional small business eligibility requirements include having been in operation in Oct. 1, 2019 and being committed to operating through June 30, 2022; having at least one but no more than 25 W-2 employees; having an annual gross revenue of $2 million or under; and not being a part of a corporate chain with more than five locations or owned franchises.
Applicants must also not be in default of any obligation to the township or the county.
The maximum grant award per business will be based on the number of employees. For instance, Farnsworth said the maximum grant request is $2,500 for businesses with one to three employees; $5,000 for businesses with four to 10 employees; and $7,500 for businesses with 11 to 25 employees.
Eligible expenses for those who receive grant funding include, but are not limited to, rent or mortgage payments for business premises; salaries and wages for employees; utilities for the business premises; costs associated with hiring or rehiring employees; and personal protective equipment procurement.
To be considered for a recovery grant recipient as a non-profit organization, the non-profit must be incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 or 501 (c) 19 and have been operating within the township on or prior to May 1, 2019. They must also file an Ohio tax return and they will be required to submit their most recent 990.
Priority will be given to non-profits that did not receive any additional government COVID-19 response funding.
Eligible use of funds as defined by the American Rescue Plan include, but are not limited to working capital, payroll, utilities, and special materials and equipment to comply with state requirements.
The township said the grant program will be active in May but did not specify an exact date. Farnsworth said the applications will be posted on their website (jacksontwp.org) as will additional requirements and documentation needed for those seeking grant funding.
He said the applications will be reviewed by a committee and the request will then go before the board of trustees for final approval.