The City of Harker Heights has approved a Coronavirus Small Business Relief Grant that will allow for disbursement of more than $89,000 to local businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The grant application period opens at 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 5, and will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16.

The application can be acquired through the City of Harker Heights website (www.harkerheights.gov) or the Central Texas Council of Governments (www.ctcog.org). The application will not be available until Monday.

When completed, the application can be submitted electronically to anna.barge@ctcog.org or mailed to: CTCOG, 2180 N. Main St., PO Box 729, Belton, TX 76513 — Attn: Planning and Regional Services, Bell County CRF.

Direct questions to Anna Barge at anna.barge@ctcog.org or Uryan Nelson at uryan.nelson@ctcog.org.

The maximum amount distributed will be $3,000 per business from a total funding amount of $89,468.50 provided through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Assistant City Manager Jerry Bark said, “The funding was based on the allocation of $55 per capita, which qualified us for $1,789,370. We must meet certain parameters to expense this funding.”

Seventy-five percent must be spent on medical supplies, public health expenses and payroll expenses.

Twenty-five percent must be spent on expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19, expenses associated with the provision of economic support and any other COVID-19 expense reasonably necessary to function.

Bark said, “The City of Harker Heights has submitted the CRF certification and has received the initial 20 percent drawdown of the overall amount. That 20 percent allocation equates to $357,874.”

Of that 20 percent allocation, the city must abide by the 75%/25% expenditure and submit supporting documentation for this initial amount prior to requesting reimbursement for additional allocation amounts.

The Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) is administering this program for the city.

Bark told the Herald that he would like to express his gratitude for the collaboration with CTCOG on this project.

“They have never wavered on assisting us with this,” Bark said. “It takes our local officials and the Chamber of Commerce completely out of the scoring process of the applications. CTCOG is a neutral party and has the dedicated staff to process the number of applications.”

CTCOG has also administered Bell County’s and the City of Belton’s business grant programs.

Bark said, “City staff is classifying this Small Business Grant application as Phase 1, which only accounts for the initial 20 percent allocation.”

There are several Eligibility Criteria for Phase 1:

must be a locally owned, independent business.

must have 50 or fewer (full time equivalent) FTE employees for payroll prior to March 1, 2020.

must have a current or anticipated revenue decline beginning March 1, 2020, resulting from COVID-19 impacts.

must have a physical and publicly accessible location with Harker Heights in a commercial building or business district.

must have been in continuous operation prior to a disaster declaration ordering the closure of your business.

cannot be a home-based business.

must currently be in operation or plan to reopen when eligible.

must have been considered a “non-essential business” during disaster declarations for example: massage establishments, hair salons, tattoo/piercing parlors, nail salons, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, small retail businesses, gyms and fitness facilities, indoor amusement facilities including bowling alleys, pool halls, movie theaters and gig workers that own or lease as office space not located within a residence.

Ineligible Businesses for Phase 1:

franchisors and non-profits

real estate developers/investors

governmental/taxing agencies/departments

hobby businesses as defined by federal law

multi-level marketing concerns

gambling concerns including casinos, racing operations or other activities whose purpose involves gambling,

lobbying organizations and political organizations subject to Internal Revenue Code 527,

sexually oriented businesses, (live performances, product sales, items, or materials,

businesses primarily engaged in lending, investments, or to an otherwise eligible business engaged in financing or factoring,

pawn shops,

an individual who employs household employees such as nannies or housekeepers,

a business where a 20 percent or more equity owner is incarcerated, on probation, on parole; presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges, are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of a felony within the last five years,

Eligible Use of Grant Funds:

payroll costs for employees

contract labor

supplier payments,

rent, lease, or mortgage payment (for real property used for business purposes, like storefronts or warehouses, excluding personal residence),

rent, lease or purchase payment for business property for example: delivery vehicle, food truck, kitchen equipment, technology, payment and communications systems and equipment,

new or expanded technology applications and Wi-Fi services,

utility payments for business properties, excluding personal residence,

reasonable costs for business operations (insurance, raw materials, and marketing expenses) and

PPE and sanitation supplies and equipment.

At the conclusion of the application process, a list of those who are eligible for the grants will be presented to the City Council for review and a vote.

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