$5.5M aid package developed for OKC businesses – The Journal Record

2 meses ago thewallstreetone Comentarios desactivados en $5.5M aid package developed for OKC businesses – The Journal Record


Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt announced Thursday a $5.5 million emergency relief package for Oklahoma City businesses. The Oklahoma City Council will consider the proposal Tuesday.(Journal Record file photo)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City businesses may soon have access to $5.5 million in emergency relief funding under an unprecedented proposal to be considered by the Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday.

What’s being called the Small Business Continuity Program was devised by the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

“Federal and state action is also necessary, but this local proposal is a step in the right direction, and I commend the teams at the Alliance, the Chamber and at City Hall for working so proactively to develop it,” said Mayor David Holt in a statement announcing the plan. “I hope the council can approve this initiative on Tuesday.”

The program is based on research of what other communities are doing nationally and globally to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and marks the first time in modern history the city would be providing an emergency aid package directly to local businesses.

Qualifying businesses could receive incentives to help with employee payroll, no-interest forgivable loans or low-interest loans, and technical assistance with applications for Small Business Administration loans and e-commerce development. The funds would come from bonds issued under the Better Streets Safer Cities initiative that Oklahoma City voters approved in September 2017.

Alongside a permanent ¼-cent sales tax and a temporary 1-cent sales tax set to expire April 1, the Better Streets Safer Cities initiative included a 10-year, $967 million general obligation bond package using property tax revenue to fund infrastructure needs – $60 million of which was to be set aside for economic and community development projects. The economic and community development portion of the bond package designated $10 million for affordable housing and $50 million for job creation incentives.

To qualify for assistance under the proposed Small Business Continuity Program, businesses that receive most of their revenue from in-store sales would need to demonstrate a year-over-year loss of at least half of their business since March 16. About 25% of the funds made available are intended for businesses in low- to moderate-income areas. A committee would be established to review and approve applications for assistance under the program.

The bulk of the funds made available, $3 million, would be distributed as loans. The program would offer 10-year, 0% interest loans of up to $50,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees, which could be forgiven for businesses with long-term employee retention that meet certain requirements. Other businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees might be eligible for a 10-year, 2% interest loan of between $50,000 and $100,000.

Another $1.5 million would be offered as cash reimbursements for up to $10,000 in retained employee payroll for businesses with fewer than 15 full-time-equivalent employees.

The program would also make available $500,000 for pre-qualified local experts to provide technical assistance to small businesses. Businesses may receive help with obtaining SBA loans and assistance under other federal, state and local assistance programs. Some companies may receive help developing a platform for online sales, or a system for having employees work remotely. Businesses could also get help with navigating legal questions raised by the response to COVID-19, such as the laws regarding extended worker leave.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting will be held by teleconference, in keeping with recent changes to the state Open Meetings Act to allow public meetings to take place remotely. Though the council chambers will be closed, citizens may still sign up to speak on an agenda item or during the “Citizens to Be Heard” portion of the meeting by calling 405-297-2391 or sending a text to 405-219-7987 before the meeting.

To listen to the meeting, call 405-534-4946. When prompted, enter Conference ID 637036762#. A recording of the meeting will be posted later in the day to the city’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/cityofokc.