Warren, PA – In order to facilitate the utilization of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act monies provided to the County by the Federal Government, the County Commissioners, with the assistance of their Auditing Firm, Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, have developed the Warren-SBG (Small Business Grant) Program which will run until December 31st of 2020. The CARES Act requires that all funds be expended in 2020, which sets the deadline for the SBG program.

 The grant program, which is meant for small businesses of 100 or fewer employees, tourism-related businesses of 500 or fewer employees, or Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees, will consist of three grant rounds. The first grant application round will start August 17th and run until August 28th. Businesses and nonprofits must be able to clearly demonstrate a loss or expense related to COVID-19, whether lost revenue, receipts for COVID-related expenses, or some other verifiable means. Interested organizations are encouraged to visit https://warrensbg.com for more information. That website, recently launched, will be the main hub of the County’s program and have regular updates related to the ongoing program.

To help administer the program, the Commissioners have accepted bids from the WCCBI (Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry) to be the Business Liaison Agency (BLA) and Kersey and Associates and Haines and Co. to the Financial Review Agencies (FRAs). All three agencies will function as contract consultants. The WCCBI will work with local businesses to answer questions, help them gather their application data, and ensure they’re able to apply if eligible. The Financial Review Agencies will assist with the review of financial data to determine the level of eligibility of applicants based on the parameters provided by the Commissioners.

“The Warren-SBG Program is a desperately needed resource for businesses across Warren County who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the operational restrictions that have come about because of the virus.” Jim Decker stated in being notified of the WCCBI’s proposal being accepted. “The WCCBI is honored to be positioned to assist local businesses develop complete and accurate application submissions to the program to ensure that the resources available are equitably and efficiently disbursed.”

The WCCBI’s enthusiasm was shared by the Commissioners. Tricia Durbin, the newest member of the current Board of County Commissioners, and a key developer of the Warren-SBG program said, “We’re looking forward to getting this funding into the local economy and helping make our local businesses and nonprofits address some of the losses they’ve incurred during this difficult year.”

The total sum allocated to the grant program is $2 million with the first round consisting of $1 million. The grants will be based on the total loss of all approved businesses versus the $1 million allocated. Applicants will go through a single online application form and are encouraged to gather tax returns, profit and loss statements, bank statements, and other types of data to demonstrate their loss. No applications will be accepted before August 17th, and no application will be available before August 17th. More data related to eligibility requirements and suggested documentation will be available soon.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston added, “We believe this system will ensure the quickest disbursement of fund and also real and objective controls to prevent fraud and make sure the most organizations are helped given the restrictions of the Federal and State Governments.”

For questions about the Warren-SBG program please email info@warrensbg.com or call the WCCBI at (814)723-3050.  

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