The Washougal City Council has allocated a portion of CARES Act funding to directly support residents and small businesses adversely effected by the COVID-19 pandemic through two new programs. Funding was authorized by Emergency Order 2020-08 that was adopted by the Council on October 12, 2020.
The COVID-19 Utility Assistance Program assists low-income residential utility customers who have delinquent utility account balances. The Small Business Grant Program Fund is an emergency fund that provides small working capital grants to qualifying small businesses to mitigate the direct impacts of business interruption due to operations limits during the COVID-19 response.
“Not only would this money substantially help people either in a low income situation who can’t afford to keep their water on or to stay current on their bills or small business owners who are trying to piece together payroll one week at a time,” comments Councilmember Yost, “these programs are major show of faith that we care about our community in both the small business and resident populations.”
Applications for each program are have a submission deadline of November 13, 2020.
COVID-19 Utility Assistance Program
The City has allocated $30,000 of CARES Act funding for this program that will provide credit to utility accounts for residential utility customers who meet the program income requirements and have an unpaid account balance for over 30 days. Household income limits are set by the Federal Department of Housing & Urban Development. The funds are available on a first come, first served basis.
Applicants must complete and submit a COVID-19 Utility Assistance Program application to the City’s Finance Department by November 13, 2020 at 5pm. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-eligible served basis and applicants will be notified of approval or rejection by staff. The amount of assistance provided will be determined by the City.
Remarking on the new relief program, Mayor Coston said “It hits those members of the community that may be impacted negatively by the loss of a job and hits a demographic and service that the county and state may not have been able to.”
The program may be terminated on November 13th, or such date as allocated funding has been used, whichever is earlier. Program may be extended in the event additional funding is allocated or the CARES Act grant funding deadlines are extended.
Full program details and application materials can be found at cityofwashougal.us/UtilityAssistanceProgram.
Small Business Grant Program
The City has allocated $70,000 of CARES Act funding for this program that will provide for small business grants up to $3,000 for eligible retail and service oriented small businesses located within the City which have a store-front and are locally owned (no franchises or national or regional chains beyond Clark County). The program may be terminated on November 13th, or such date as allocated funding has been used, whichever is earlier. The program may be extended in the event additional funding is allocated or the CARES Act grant funding deadlines are extended. Business must have 20 FTE (full-time equivalent employees) or fewer with priority given to those with 10 or fewer FTE.
“The spirit of this is to help the community. We need to give something to our small businesses,” said Councilmember Michelle Wagner.
Grants shall be used to cover expenses incurred between March 1 and November 13, 2020 related to responding to the COVID-19 emergency or to provide financial support due to the impacts of business disruptions due to the COVID-19 emergency. Eligible expenses include rent payments; employee wages, benefits and taxes; typical operating costs; owner wages; expenses for compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures and equipment to enable outdoor seating.
Applicants must complete and submit a Small Business Grant Program application to the City’s Community Development Department by November 13, 2020 at 5pm. The City will review each application for completeness and for business eligibility and expense eligibility. After the deadline, the City will determine grant award amounts to recipients. The City will document each review and notify the applicant of their eligibility or ineligibility and the amount of the grant to be funded, if any. Upon notification, the applicant must execute an agreement with the City prior to receiving the funds.
Full program details and grant application materials can be found at cityofwashougal.us/SmallBusinessGrant.