The Princeton CARES Program, which was authorized by city council in September, allows City Manager Derek Borg to utilize 25% of the nearly $800,000 Princeton received from the CARES Act through Collin County. The program will set aside $181,223 for local businesses.
“Now that the city council has authorized the program,” Borg said. “We are hoping that the Princeton CARES Stimulus Grant Program is able to help businesses in Princeton overcome some of their struggles brought on by the COVID-19.”
The program, intended to provide short-term limited assistance, will allow for approximately 72 grants in the amount of $2,500 for qualified applicants.
Under the ordinance, a four-person review committee consisting of one appointee from the following groups: Princeton Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce and the city of Princeton Finance and Marketing departments will review each application submitted for approval.
According to Patton, the city will assist businesses with a “pre-review” to ensure the application process goes smoothly.
“We are extremely excited to administer this program to the community,” Patton said. “We’re hoping to receive a lot of applicants in order to provide assistance to businesses in need.”
Applications for grants will be accepted until mid-December. Applications received by Friday will be reviewed by Thursday of the following week. Applicants will have a status update within two business days of the review and payment will be processed within five business days following approval barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Applicants must provide written description of the expense or building project for which the grant money will be used. Any building project must be necessary to meet guidelines or due to COVID-19 restrictions placed on business owners or be necessary to resume business.
To be eligible, an applicant’s business must have operated for the past six months within Princeton city limits. The business may be asked to show a history of past sales as well as a decrease in in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If approved, the applicant must commence with the expenditure or project within 30 days of approval.
Eligible expenses include payroll costs comprised of gross payroll, retirement costs or health insurance. Overhead costs including rent, leases and purchase payments for property such as vehicles, kitchen equipment, insurance coverage and technology and communication systems as are included as well.
Eligible business expenses include contract labor, COVID-19 personal protection equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies, and COVID-19 related business improvements such as sanitation equipment or touchless technology.
Ineligible projects include any projects planned or in progress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city considers Mar. 1 the emergence of the pandemic. Any project or expense that cannot be identified as occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also ineligible.
Other ineligibilities include businesses that previously received other government money for the same expense or project, businesses with outstanding finical obligations to the city or with federal, state, or local past due taxes and businesses that are not currently compliance with city or local ordinances. Businesses in default or that have filed bankruptcy within the last 12 months are also excluded.
Lastly, any business with which consideration would create a conflict of interest with elected city officials or city employees, or any business that began operations after Mar. 1 will not be eligible.
Some businesses excluded from consideration include nonprofit organizations, lobbying or political organizations, government or taxing agencies, lending and financial institutions, businesses where revenue is derived from rental or income-producing properties, pawn shops, medical providers and businesses that operate as an age restricted business such as bars.
Franchises, unless owner-operated, will be ineligible as well.
The program will run through Dec. 30, but applications must be submitted by Dec. 15.
Application requirements are as follows. The applicant must provide proof that the business is located within the city of Princeton and must include a written description of the expense or proposed project. An application much be completed, and previous sales information may be needed. The applicant must also provide documentation which will establish the cost of repair, expense, alteration or maintenance.
“This is for the small businesses that were misrepresented in the first round of federal funding,” Patton said. “By the time they had filled out the application, the money was already gone.”
Details and the application process can be found on the city of Princeton’s website.
By Dustin Butler • [email protected]