The City Council of the City of Watertown is announcing a financial relief program for small businesses within the City, funded with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds made available to the City via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. CDBG funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are being used for this program to avoid or reverse the loss of jobs held by Low-to-Moderate Income individuals. The Watertown Local Development Corporation (WLDC) will partner with the City to oversee application intake and review.
The City will administer this program to aid small businesses that have suffered and continue to suffer revenue losses and hardships due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Any independently owned business with 25 employees or less and located within the City of Watertown is eligible to apply for assistance under this program.
The City anticipates that applicants will primarily utilize funding to cover working capital expenses, such as rent, insurance, utilities, inventory, supplies or other hard and soft costs related to operations and/or improvements. To maximize flexibility, the project would allow for both forward and backward-looking expenses. Past payroll would not be an eligible expense. Applicants must submit copies of all bills, invoices and/or receipts for items that grant funding will subsidize.
As the Federal Government awarded this funding to the City of Watertown through the CARES Act, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that any hardships or revenue loss that the business continues to experience is because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, proving that the grant funding will help the business prevent, prepare for or respond to Coronavirus.
This program will carry a total budget of $450,000 that the City will award to eligible businesses at an award value of up to $10,000 per business. To be eligible, an applicant must be a for-profit business located in the City and operating within a commercial facility. Chain retailers and restaurants, franchisees, and independent contractors will not be eligible for assistance under this program. Additionally, applicants must have been in operation prior to January 1, 2020 and must show an appreciable and ongoing financial hardship resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, Grant funding from this program cannot provide a duplication of funding for the same expenses if applicants have applied to the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (SBA PPP), and/or from other financial relief grants or programs. If an organization applies for assistance through the SBA's PPP or other programs, the City of Watertown Small Business Emergency Relief Program cannot provide funding towards those same expenses. Applicants must also provide proof that this funding, if awarded, will not result in a duplication of benefits with any other state or federal award.
Finally, the City intends this to be a primarily reimbursement-based program. However, in situations where a business’s cash flow is so strained that the business lacks the liquidity to pay an overdue bill, the City will consider requests for advance payments. However, any business applying for advance assistance must demonstrate the severity of their situation. Businesses approved for advance funding will also need to submit a W-9 for each entity that they propose to pay using grant funding.
All applicants must describe in detail how the Coronavirus has and continues to impact their business and must submit Profit and Loss Statements for Fiscal Years 2019, 2020 and year-to-date (YTD) 2021 to support the information that they communicate in their written summaries. The City and the WLDC reserve the right to request additional information and all applications are subject to City and WLDC review and approval processes. This includes, but is not limited to, verifying that an applicant is current on all City, County and school taxes.
A condition of the CDBG program is that grant funding must primarily benefit Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) persons. In order for the City to verify that the requisite percentage of its CDBG-CV grant funds will assist LMI persons as required by HUD, businesses that receive assistance will have to provide payroll records showing the type of job and the annual wages or salary of the job to demonstrate that the position filled or held/retained was a low- or moderate-income position. The City and HUD will consider the position income-qualified if the annual wages or salary of the job is equal to or less than the CDBG low-to-moderate income limit established by HUD for a one-person family.
If your business is awarded funding through the City of Watertown Small Business Emergency Relief Program, you will need to read and sign a Grantee Recipient Commitment Agreement. Among other requirements, recipient businesses must retain at least the same level of employment that they held on the date of application for a period of 12 months after receiving assistance, which recipient businesses must prove by submitting payroll documentation.
All applicants must submit their completed applications to the WLDC via email to the following address: email@example.com. Application forms will be available beginning June 22, 2021. The application period will open on June 25, 2021 and will remain open until funding is exhausted. Early applications will not be accepted. The WLDC and the City will consider applications on a first come, first-serve basis.
The City of Watertown greatly appreciates all that our small businesses contribute to our community!