During a Titusville City Council press conference on Wednesday, Crawford County Planning Director Zachary Norwood announced that no businesses from Titusville have applied for the $75,000 of the COVID-19 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) money designated by the City to help small businesses.

Norwood lamented that if the funds are not dispersed, the county will look at either extending the deadline or using the funds elsewhere.

Three months ago, the Crawford County Planning Office set up a website labeled the Small Business Assistance Program. According to Norwood, business owners can use the website to find information about how Crawford County can help local business.

The CDBG-CV funding is available to all small businesses in the City. The federal government officially defines a small business as any business that makes less than $1,000,000 per year or has less than 100 employees.

There are also restrictions based on the nature of business conducted. The federal government prohibits non-profit organizations, real estate developers, lobbying groups and “sin businesses” from receiving funding. Sin businesses include golf courses, country clubs, massage parlors, hot tub facilities, suntan facilities, racetracks and any store where the principal business is the sale of alcoholic beverages consumed off premise (liquor stores and beer distributors).

Businesses zoned in Titusville can receive up to $5,000 in CDBG-CV funds. Businesses in Crawford County, but not in Titusville, Vernon Township or Meadville can receive up to $10,000, according to Norwood. The reason for the disparity is that Titusville chose to use a portion of its CDBG-CV money for rental assistance, utility assistance and for the purchase of a COVID-19 response vehicle.

Small business owners need to apply before the third cycle of CDBG-CV funding expires on Sept. 30. If business owners have applied for either the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, they are still eligible to receive CDBG relief. Norwood said, however, that businesses cannot receive duplication. If a business received PPP funds to pay their payroll from March to June, that same business cannot receive funding to help pay their March to June payroll. “You can’t spend money on the exact same expense,” said Norwood.

Dvorkin can be reached by email at gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.

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