The University Place City Council unanimously approved at its July 6, 2020 meeting to officially accept $992,700 from the State of Washington as part of the federal CARES Act. The funds will be redistributed into the community to assist with COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Based on recommendations from staff, $500,000 will be used to support U.P. businesses that have suffered significant economic losses as a result of the state-mandated shutdown that began in mid-March.
“In talking with local businesses, we discovered that a lot of our smaller businesses did not want to incur additional debt,” said Mariza Craig, director of Economic Development for the City of U.P. “The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program, so we made the conscious decision to distribute our funds as grants that did not require repayment.”
The $500,000 will be divided into two tiers:
- $400,000 will be available for distribution to businesses which meet certain additional qualifications (Tier 1 Businesses). These are businesses that paid a minimum of $10,000 in sales tax in 2019 and operate a storefront in one of the City’s commercial zones. Grants up to $20,000 will be available to these businesses based on number of years in business and number of full-time equivalent employees.
- $100,000 will be available for distribution to businesses which do not meet these additional qualifications (Tier 2 Businesses). These are geared towards smaller businesses, including home-based businesses. They can apply for a minimum grant of $1,000, plus $1,000 per full-time equivalent employees, excluding the business owner. Grants for under this tier cannot exceed $5,000 per business.
All applicants, regardless of tier level, must meet the following minimum qualifying criteria:
- The business must be located within the City of University Place boundaries.
- The business must possess a valid U.P. business license since March 16, 2019 or meet additional criteria for newly established businesses.
- The business must demonstrate a loss of 25 percent or more in revenue due to COVID-19 impacts (comparing March 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019 with March 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020).
- The business must have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) whose primary workstation is within U.P.
- The business should be in good standing, meet other regulatory requirements as necessary, and demonstrate an ability to restart.
The first round of business grant applications will open on July 8. All applications must be received by July 22, with the goal of beginning distribution of funds by July 31, 2020.
“We believe our business grant program best reflects the input we received from our businesses as well as our Economic Development Advisory Commission,” Craig said. “We appreciate the time that everyone took to join us in our virtual meetings so that we could develop a comprehensive plan that best reflects the needs of our business community.”
For specific grant criteria, including how to get applications, visit the Business Relief Funds webpage.