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Ocala City Council OKs business disaster assistance program amid COVID-19 crisis

Members of the Ocala City Council have approved a program to help Ocala businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

The program, titled the Small Business Disaster Assistance Program, will serve businesses not eligible under the city’s Economic Investment Program or Small Business Investment Program. The city has set aside $100,000 for the program, which will provide one-time grants of up to $2,500 for operational expenses.

Applications will be accepted on a first come, first qualified basis and the program will be suspended after current allocations have been awarded.

The program will be managed by the city’s Community Development Services department. Participating businesses will be required to provide proof of eligible costs. If awarded, the grant funds must be used for operational or other expenses not covered by other federal, state or local programs. Operational expenses may include the payment of mortgages, leases and/or utility payments.

The funds can’t be used for any payroll purposes including but not limited to salaries, bonuses, retirement contributions or payments, or severance pay.
To quality, a business must meet the following criteria as of March 1:

  • Must be locally owned and not part of a chain;
  • Must be located within the city limits or the Ocala Electric Utility service territory;
  • Has 25 or fewer employees on payroll;
  • Must have been current with lease/mortgage payments, taxes and utility payments as of March 1;
  • Can’t have any liens, warrants or judgments against the owner or the business;
  • Can’t have any outstanding code violations at the time of application; and
  • Non-profits and home-based businesses are ineligible.

Beginning May 18, applications may be made only at ocalacitygrants.org. For more information, contact the Economic Development division at citygrants@ocalafl.org.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

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