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Parkersburg announces Small Business Relief Fund

PARKERSBURG — A program to help companies impacted by the pandemic was announced on Friday by the City of Parkersburg.

The Small Business Relief Fund financed by a Community Development Block Grant for coronavirus response will assist small businesses in Parkersburg to avoid job loss caused by closures related to social distancing, city officials said.

The program will provide short-term working capital for the retention or creation of jobs for low- to moderate-income persons, the city said. Funds awarded to eligible businesses through the program may be used for working capital expenses and help small businesses restart operations after being closed due to the pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 and subsequent shut downs and limitations placed upon small businesses has been severe,” Mayor Tom Joyce said.

“Through this relief program we hope to provide some stability and promulgate reopening and sustainability of operations for those entities hurt the most by the events of the past several months,” he said. “Coupled with the City’s B&O Tax exemption, our hope is that these businesses can survive in the short and midterm and allow for their continued operation throughout the coming months and move toward normalcy and recovery.”

The maximum amount of assistance for an eligible business, provided they document the unmet need, is $17,500.

Funds awarded to an eligible business, through the relief program may be used for working capital expenses. For the purpose of this program, eligible working capital expenses include:

* Payment for business rent or required monthly business loan payments.

* Payments of wages, taxes, and normal benefits for business employees essential to maintain a business.

* Normal operating costs that are included in “cost of goods sold” on a business income statement (raw materials for manufacturers, component pieces for assemblers, items for resale for retailers, food for restaurants, among others etc.

* Normal operating expenses that are included in “operating expenses” on a business income statement such as utilities, insurance and professional services.

The city is a partner with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council in the administration of the program. The Regional Council has experience managing loan programs funded by the USDA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the state of West Virginia.

“Our small business community is resilient and has weathered many past storms. The COVID-19 pandemic will not stop West Virginia’s small businesses,” Carol Jackson, executive director of the Regional Council, said. “We applaud the City of Parkersburg’s foresight and support in creating this plan to provide needed resources to the city’s small business community. We are honored to be able to assist the City with this endeavor.”

The criteria for a small business to be eligible is:

* Be located in the corporation limits of Parkersburg.

* Have been in business for at least one year since March 1, 2019.

* In good standing with applicable city fees as of Dec. 31, 2019.

* Must be a low-to moderate-income business owner or a business employing or previously employing at least 51 percent of low-to-moderate income workers.

* Must employ 25 full time equivalent low-to moderate-income workers, however, priority will be given to businesses employing 10 full time equivalent low-to moderate-income workers during the first application cycle.

For applications and program guidelines, call 304-422-4993 or emailana.ambrose@movrc.org.

Applications must be submitted to the Regional Council by 10 a.m. Oct. 16 and can be mailed or emailed to the Regional Council.

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