Fulton Montgomery Chamber helping with COVID recovery grants

In this file photo, Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kilmer gives a report to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE – Small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are being encouraged to apply for the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant.

The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce is the designated partner with the Chamber Alliance of New York State for the administration of the grant program for the Mohawk Valley Region.

“We’re handling the marketing and outreach for the grants,” said Mark Kilmer, president and chief executive officer of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has been conducting webinars on Thursdays for those interested in the program.

“We’ve had a ton of interest. I’ve probably made 300 to 400 calls about the program,” Kilmer said. “The challenge has been the eligibility.”

The grant program was created to provide flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations who have experienced economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the nysmallbusinessrecovery.com website, the grant program is open to small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations (collectively, “eligible applicants”) must be currently viable and have begun operation on or before March 1, 2019, and continue to be in operation as of the date of application (may be shuttered due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Eligible applicants will be required to show loss of gross receipts or other economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols which resulted in business modifications, interruptions, or closures, the website said.

Small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations must:

• Have 2019 or 2020 gross receipts of between $25,000 and $500,000 per annum (line 1a, IRS Form 1120 or 1065; line 1 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C).

• Demonstrate positive net profit on 2019 business return ($1 or greater) (line 28, IRS Form 1120; line 22, IRS Form 1065; or line 31, IRS Form 1040 Schedule C).

• Demonstrate that total expenses on 2020 business income return are greater than the grant amounts.

• Demonstrate at least 25% loss in annual gross receipts in a year-to-year revenue comparison as of Dec. 31, 2020 to the same period in 2019

“We’re finding a lot of people who want to partake in the program, but the eligibility is somewhat rigorous,” Kilmer said. “We’ve had a lot that haven’t met the threshold.”

To start the process, businesses need to visit the nysmallbusinessrecovery.com website and answer seven questions before beginning to fill out the grant forms, which the chamber can assist with, Kilmer said.

“Those who are interested should call the chamber for more information,” Kilmer said. “It’s something that those who are eligible for it should take advantage of. I’d like to see our region get what it can from the program.”

A total of $800 million in federal funds is available through the program.

For business that are chosen for the program, grant awards will be calculated based on a business’ annual gross receipts for 2019:

• Annual gross receipts: $25,000-$49,999: Award is $5,000/business;

• Annual gross receipts: $50,000-$99,999: Award is $10,000/business; or

• Annual gross receipts: $100,000-$500,000: Award is 10% of gross receipts (maximum grant is $50,000).

The program calls for the grant funds to be used for specific COVID-19 related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021.

These include:

• Payroll costs; or

• Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property; or

• Payment of local property or school taxes associated with a small business location in NYS; or

• Insurance costs; or

• Utility costs; or

• Costs of personal protection equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; or

• Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) costs; or

• Other machinery or equipment costs; or

• Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols; or

• Other documented COVID-19 costs as approved by ESD.

“We’ve had several businesses apply and who have been accepted,” Kilmer said. “We won’t know who or how much they are receiving until September. We want to get the word out and have as many take part in the program as possible.”

Webinars for the Small Business Recovery Grant will take place every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. until Sept. 16.

For more information, contact Mark Kilmer at (518) 725-0641 or email at [email protected] or visit www.canys.org/nys-small-business-grant-program.

Information on the program also is available at nysmallbusinessrecovery.com.

By Paul Wager