Oklahoma City Council to consider $5.5M Small Business Continuity Program for COVID-19 emergency relief
The Oklahoma City Council will consider an unprecedented $5.5 million emergency relief program for local small businesses on Tuesday.
The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber built the framework of the proposal, called the Small Business Continuity Program. It’s based on research of what other communities are doing nationally and globally to save their local small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
It’s the first emergency aid package directly from the City government to local businesses in modern Oklahoma City history.
“Even as we work 24/7 to limit the spread of COVID-19, we should also work to address the secondary effects of those actions,” said Mayor David Holt. “We’ll all likely experience economic loss from this, but some will experience far more than others. Some will bear more of the load simply because their chosen profession became – overnight, through no fault of theirs – a threat to public health. Their economic sacrifice is literally saving our lives and they deserve more than our thanks. Federal and state action is also necessary, but this local proposal is a step in the right direction, and I commend the teams at the Alliance, the Chamber and at City Hall for working so proactively to develop it. I hope the Council can approve this initiative on Tuesday.”
The program would be funded by $5.5 million from general obligation bonds included in the Economic and Community Development component of the Better Streets, Safer City program.
Qualifying businesses would need to demonstrate a loss of at least half their business (year-over-year since March 16), and that they receive most of their revenue from in-store sales. Priority would be given to businesses operating in Oklahoma City for at least a year. The goal is for at least 25% of the funding to go to businesses in low- to moderate-income census tracts.
Incentive Program ($1.5 million)
- Cash incentives, on a reimbursement basis, up to $10,000 for retained employee payroll. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees.
Loan Program ($3 million)
- No Interest Forgivable Loans: 10-year, 0% interest loans up to $50,000. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Long-term employee retention and other requirements could lead to loan forgiveness over time.
- Low Interest Loans: 10-year, 2% interest loans from $50,000 to $100,000. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees.
Technical Assistance Program ($500,000)
- Prequalified local subject-matter experts will provide technical assistance in these areas and more:
- Applying, processing and compliance for federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and other federal, state and local assistance programs.
- Online business platform and e-commerce channel development.
- Best practices for remote working (maintaining employee productivity, etc.)
- Legal best practices (extended worker leave, etc.)
A committee would review and approve applications.
Tuesday’s City Council meeting will be held by teleconference, and other public meetings will follow. Read details here.
Find public meeting agendas, including for the City Council, at okc.gov/agenda. Agendas for meetings held by teleconference will include instructions on how to attend or sign up to speak.
Go to covid19.okc.gov for the latest local updates and guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.