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Belleville seeks funding for business recovery grants

The city of Belleville has applied to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity through the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency & Economic Support Payments Grants Program to fund the Belleville COVID-19 Business Recovery Grant Program.

The appeal requested $150,000 to create the local relief program, which, if funded, would offer grants of up to $5,000 for Belleville businesses that meet the eligibility criteria. The Metro East was allotted $2.1 million under the program based on population, the same formula used for the Local Government Distributive Fund.

“We know our small businesses have been impacted more than ever this year and this funding could assist them greatly,” said Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert (shown). “We’re grateful to have this opportunity in order to manage these funds on a local level to help our business community. Our small businesses are the backbone of Belleville.”

Eligibility criteria is as follows:

– Businesses must be located within the corporate limits of the city.
– Businesses must have 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees. Full-time-equivalent is defined as a combination of 35 hours per week. (Example: one part-time employee at 25 hours, plus one part-time employee at 10 hours equals one full-time equivalent of 35 hours)

– Businesses with revenues reduced by greater than 20 percent by COVID-19 in any months from March-December vs. February 2020.
– Businesses who have not received federal funding (PPP, EIDL, BIG, etc.) in the past, or businesses that have received federal funding and intend to use the Belleville Business Recovery Grant funding for expenses different than what federal funding was used for.
– For-profit small businesses only are eligible (non-profit organizations are not eligible). For profit businesses owned by non-profits are eligible, if they meet all other requirements. The application must be made through the for-profit business, and not the non-profit parent company.
– May not have an IRS tax lien or other judgement against it and the business owners or partners may not be currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

The program will be open to businesses that fall under the categories of bar/restaurant, entertainment, and retail/wholesale. An “other” category will be added for those businesses that may not be fall within these traditional categories but have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are eligible for one grant through this program.

If awarded, the funding may be used for payroll, operating expenses, lease/rent payments, modifications required for compliance with reopening guidelines, or inventory and acquisition vital to the business. Ineligible costs include expenses reimbursed under any State, local or federal program, capital improvements, taxes, personal expenses, damages covered by insurance, expenditures prohibited by section 5001(b) of the CARES Act, reimbursement to donors for donated items, workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime, severance pay, legal settlements, any other expenses not reasonably incurred due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Applicants will be required to submit a completed application, a description of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, 2019 or the businesses’ latest tax returns, a signed W-9 form, bank statements from 2020 showing losses in revenue, and proof of any previous funding (PPP, EIDL, BIG) including documentation on the expenses funded through those programs, if applicable.

Funding will be distributed based on a scoring system concerning loss of revenue, duration of closure, years in business, percentage of business operations subject to mandatory closure, and the number of full-time-equivalent employees. If the program is funded, applications are anticipated to be due in mid-December.

For questions, call (618) 233-6810, ext. 1249 or .

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