Middletown offering grants to small businesses struggling with COVID-19

Middletown will be taking applications starting Monday for a new forgivable loan program to assist small businesses who have been struggling due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The federal funds being used for this program are part of CARES Act to help with the city's Community Development Block Grant programs. FILE PHOTO


Middletown officials are developing a plan to close off the front drive to vehicles at the Middletown City Building in an effort to increase security. The City Building houses Middletown’s city administrative offices, the Municipal Court, and the Middletown City Schools administrative offices. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Middletown will be taking applications starting Monday for a new forgivable loan program to assist small businesses who have been struggling due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The federal funds being used for this program are part of CARES Act to help with the city's Community Development Block Grant programs. FILE PHOTO Middletown officials are developing a plan to close off the front drive to vehicles at the Middletown City Building in an effort to increase security. The City Building houses Middletown’s city administrative offices, the Municipal Court, and the Middletown City Schools administrative offices. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Starting Monday, Middletown will be taking applications for a new forgivable loan program to assist local small businesses that have been struggling due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Susan Cohen, city administrative services director, said the federal funds being used for this program are part of $431,000 Cares Act package that to help with the city’s Community Development Block Grant programs. Applications will be accepted Monday through Friday.

Middletown City Council allocated the funds on Sept. 15 and will provide $170,000 for the forgivable business micro-loans. The grants were recently announced at council’s Nov. 3 meeting.

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Cohen said to qualify for this forgivable loan program, a local small businesses must demonstrate the hardship caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses with 25 or fewer employees that are located in Middletown can apply for loans up to $10,000.

Cohen said the loan can only be used for businesses to pay for normal expenses that have been made more difficult due to declining revenues of 20% or more. The loan funds cannot be used for equipment purchases, construction or expansion-related costs.

Businesses not eligible for the program include sexually oriented businesses, businesses that primarily sell tobacco or tobacco-related products financial institutions making credit or loans and franchises.

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Applicants will be scored using the following factors such as being included in the Ohio orders to shut down the business; years of operating in Middletown; after reopening what was the percentage of capacity it operated at; is it a minority, women or disadvantaged business enterprise; number of employees lost by the business between March 1 and the application date; and the number of low to moderate income employees retained per federal guidelines.

Cohen said the loans will have a three-year term at a 0% interest rate. If a business is able to retain at least one low- or moderate-income employee for the first three months after the receipt of loan funds then the loan will be completely forgiven, she said.

Businesses that are unable to qualify for the loan to be forgiven will have repayment will be will be deferred for the first 12 months with repayment due on month 13. They will have two years to completely repay the loan.

Interested businesses can contact Ida Hawkins at 513-425-7950 or at idah@cityofmiddletown.org.

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OTHER COUNCIL BUSINESS:

— Approved a one-year renewal of the contract with Summit Food Service to provide food for jail inmates. The renewal rates shall continue to be a flat fee of $2,520 per week when the jail population is 50 or less. If the jail population is over 50, the rate will be $2.40 per meal. Any food in excess of what is needed for the day’s jail population should be donated to local non-profit organizations or entities.

— Approved the purchase of three Ford Explorers for the Division of Police at $32,729 each from Lebanon Ford through the state purchasing contract. One of those vehicles will be paid through CARES Act funds allocated for police. A separate ordinance provided for the purchase of another Ford Explorer for the Municipal Court for the same price on the state contract.

— Approved a new police towing services with Mark’s Towing of Middletown in the amount of $100 a tow. This also includes the lease of land at 3500 Terry Drive to operate the towing business and secure storage of impounded vehicles.

— Approved an emergency ordinance for Allied Technical Services to complete the August Avenue lift station repair project. The $45,981 project includes replacing the pump and control panel for the existing out of service storm water lift station.

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