OGDEN — Ramping up another COVID-19 relief program, Ogden City is looking to dole out what could be as much as $7.8 million to local businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Weber County leaders, teaming with most of the other cities in the county, are hoping to distribute up to $45 million more through the end of the year, also to help businesses in need.
“We want to make sure...our local businesses are healthy and doing well,” said Weber County Commissioner Jim Harvey, part of a contingent of local leaders who gathered Tuesday to reveal plan details.
The money comes from the federal government’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was established with the CARES Act, and is being distributed by the state. Utah received $1.25 billion in CRF funding and is giving the money out to counties and municipalities using a population-based formula.
Ogden Director of Community and Economic Development Tom Christopulos said the city received an initial infusion of $2.6 million for the initiative, the Ogden Cares Business Grant Program. Subject to the availability of funding, Ogden could receive an additional $5.2 million from the fund, money that could be received in two additional distributions at a later date.
Weber County is teaming with all the other cities in the county, except Harrisville, as part of a parallel initiative, the Weber County CARES Grant Program, with initial grant funds of around $12 million, according to Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer. That figure could potentially grow to $45 million in all with additional distributions if there is enough need and demand.
Christopulos said Ogden’s program will help cover virus-related shortfalls between necessary business expenses and existing funding sources — whether that’s normal business revenue, or money local companies received through previous federal or state COVID-19 assistance programs.
For example, if a business incurred $40,000 in necessary business expenses from March through June and, if during this same time period, earned only $12,000 in revenue and received $20,000 through a government-run COVID-19 assistance program, the cashflow shortfall would be $8,000 and the business would be eligible to receive that amount.
Additionally, businesses located in Ogden’s Central Business District (which includes all land from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues) that make physical modifications to comply with physical distancing requirements can use the program to cover those costs.
Froerer said the county program will be geared primarily to businesses, though nonprofit groups may also be able to tap into the funds. Individual grants will range from around $2,000 to $35,000. He noted that nearly 1,800 Weber County businesses in all were forced to close their doors at some point due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the aid is meant for such firms. It’s also meant to aid those businesses that have had to make physical modifications to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.
Christopulos said the funding was just finalized and the city is still ironing out details related to the program. Additional information on the application process and evaluation criteria will be published by July 1 on the Ogden Business website at www.ogdenbusiness.com. Interested business owners can also email Ogden City Business Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city will begin accepting grant applications for the program July 1 and applications will be reviewed monthly until the funds are exhausted. Applicants must have an Ogden City business license to be eligible for a grant.
Applications for the county initiative may be submitted starting July 6, recipients should be determined by late July and by early August “we think we can put the money in your hand,” said Weber County Commissioner Scott Jenkins.
Harrisville is managing its own effort and has an initial disbursement of $199,000 in CARES Act funds with the potential for two more distributions or about $600,000 in all, according to Mayor Michelle Tait.
Davis County has launched an initial $5 million “Davis CARES” Small Business Grant Program, which is available to businesses in the county with 49 employees or less who are directly affected by COVID-19.
“The impact to our businesses has a ripple effect on our entire community,” said Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson. “And we continue to look for ways to stabilize the impact.”
As part of the program, Davis County small business owners can receive up to $30,000 depending on the number of employees they employed on March 1. Applications for funding will be accepted July 6-10. For more information, go to www.daviscountyutah.gov/CED.