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Vienna announces relief fund

VIENNA — Small businesses in Vienna can apply for federal assistance to help deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Vienna on Monday announced the launch of its Small Business Relief Fund Program, with approximately $63,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. It’s intended to “provide short-term working capital for the retention and/or creation of jobs for low-to-moderate income persons” and to help businesses “restart operations after being closed due to the pandemic,” according to a press release from the city.

Businesses within the city limits that have been in operation since at least March 1, 2019, and were in good standing with city fees as of Dec. 31, 2019, can apply for the assistance if they are owned by a low-to-moderate-income individual or if at least 51 percent of their workforce qualifies in that category. Eligible businesses must employ the equivalent of at least 25 low-to-moderate-income workers, but priority in the initial round of applications will be given to those employing 10 or less.

“Every business in town is important to us,” Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said. “And the smaller businesses are struggling right now.

“We’re hoping to help as many as we can with the amount of money that we’ve got to remain,” he said. “Hopefully this will give them a little incentive, a little shot in the arm so to speak, to keep them in business.”

If they document the unmet need, businesses can receive as much as $10,000 for working capital expenses. These can include rent or required business loan payments; wages, taxes and benefits for essential employees; normal operating costs such as raw materials, food for restaurants or items for retail sale; and operating expenses like utilities, insurance and professional services.

The city is partnering with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council to administer the program. The council is also assisting the City of Parkersburg with its own Small Business Relief Fund, announced last week.

Applications and guidelines for the Vienna program can be requested via phone at 304-422-4993 or email at ana.ambrose@movrc.org. Applications are due, via mail or email, to the Regional Council by 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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