ROBUST Grant Phase I & II Update

Rowlett Communities Active in Disaster (RCOAD) is the one of the ways that the City of Rowlett is responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.  As the residents of Rowlett proved in 2015 Rowlett neighbors help their neighbors.  The RCOAD was created in March 2020 by the Rowlett City Council to help facilitate a coordinated response to help connect neighbors who want to help, with those who need help. 

Rowlett Ready, the action arm of the RCOAD, is pleased to announce the Rowlett Business Stimulus Grants have been awarded.   Phase I was funded by the Rowlett City Council using money from the Rowlett Economic Development Fund, 19 businesses were awarded a total of $100,000.  These grants will provide short-term, immediate financial aid to the small businesses who met the grant criteria and have sustained economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The application process was open on a first-come-first-serve basis from April 17 through April 30, and a total of 99 businesses applied.

The ROBUST Grant committee was tasked with reviewing the grant applications and the first applicants who completed the application fully were awarded the grants on Friday, May 1, 2020.

Phase I Grant recipients included:  Four Paws Animal Hospital, Flat Rate Printing & Promotions, M3 Physical Therapy, theMcKENNAgroup, Gmac Family Financial, Minced Meal Prep, Texas Oilers Baseball , Fit House Cafe/City Blends, GF Dental, Redemption Barber Shop, Book Club Rowlett,  Gatsplat Enterprises, Lexie’s Boutique, The Ryan Insurance Agency, Spoons Fine Frozen Yogurt, Liberty Dermatology, Studio 360, Friendly Eye Care, and one additional recipient.  

While the Economic Development funds were exhausted by the first 19 recipients, there were an additional 80 businesses that applied for the grant.  The Rowlett City Council and Community Development Department are researching ways to apply for additional federal funding to help these businesses in Phase II.   If these additional funds become available, they could be used to fund additional grants here in Rowlett. 

 

PURPOSE:

The Rowlett Ready program of the Rowlett Community Organizations Active in Disaster (RCOAD) recognizes that small businesses are suffering from financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The RCOAD Board of Directors, and the Rowlett City Council feel strongly that the Rowlett business community needs our support during this extraordinary health crisis.  The Rowlett Business Stimulus (ROBUST) grant was developed to provide short-term, immediate financial aid to small businesses who have sustained economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is not intended to be the sole source to sustain a business during this health crisis.  Businesses are encouraged to seek out additional sources of stop-gap funding in addition to this grant.

The ROBUST grant provides a maximum award total of $10,000 per business for economic losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Applicants may quality for grant funds in two categories: Lease/Mortgage Assistance and Payroll Assistance.

CRITERIA:

This program is open to all non-home based, small businesses located within the City of Rowlett who meet the following criteria:

  1. Must have 20 or less FTE (Full time equivalent) for payroll as of April 1, 2020.
  2. Must have a physical and publicly accessible location within the City of Rowlett in a commercial building or business district with a valid Certificate of Occupancy, and must have been in continuous operation for a period of at least six months prior to the application date.
  3. Must be in good standing with the City of Rowlett with respect to taxes, fees, utility payments, and other financial obligations to the City.
  4. Must have current or anticipated revenue decline beginning March 1, 2020 resulting from COVID-19 impacts.
  5. Must have completed the Economic Impact Survey jointly sponsored by the City of Rowlett Economic Development Department and the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce.   If you have not completed the survey, please go to http://www.rowlettsurvey.com to complete it.
  6. Must be a locally owned, independent business responsible for all revenues and expenses.
  7. Must have sustained a financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  8. Must not have a conflict of interest (no award may be made to any business entity or person whereby grant consideration may be a violation of Chapter 171, Texas Local Government Code).

EXCLUSIONS:

Home-based businesses and non-profit organizations are specifically excluded from the ROBUST grant.

NOTE:

Participation in this grant may or may not affect your eligibility to participate in the Paycheck Protection Loan Program as managed by the Small Business Administration, relief under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or other forms of federal or state aid. Please See https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp for more information.

PRIVACY INFORMATION:

Information provided in this application may be  considered public records and may be subject to public disclosure through the Texas Public Information Act.  The RCOAD will endeavor to retain all submitted information on a confidential basis to the extent allowed by law.  If submitted information is considered by the applicant to be confidential or protected as a trade secret, the information must clearly be marked as such.

DESCRIPTION:

Lease/Mortgage Assistance:

Applicants may be eligible for up to $5,000 in lease or commercial mortgage payment assistance.  Applicants must show proof of a lease or commercial mortgage, and the monthly amount due.  Payments will only be made directly to the landlord, leasing agent, or financial institution.  No payment will be made to directly to the grantee.  Lease/mortgage assistance grants will only be disbursed for future or current lease or mortgage payments.  Past due lease or mortgage payments are not an allowable expense under this grant.

Payroll Assistance:

Applicants may be eligible for up to $500 per FTE (full time equivalent) as of April 1, 2020, to a maximum of $10,000 per applicant.  Must show proof of payroll for the payroll closest to April 1, 2020.  Payments will only be made to the business name on the Certificate of Occupancy.  Payroll assistance grants may only be used for future payroll obligations.  Past due payroll obligations are not an allowable expense under this grant.

APPLICATION PROCESS:

Applicants may apply online.   Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.  Grants will be awarded until approved funding is exhausted or the grant program is ended, whichever occurs first.  Applications will be accepted during a 14-day open period.  Continued funding of this grant is not guaranteed.

SUSTAINABILITY:

Applicant agrees that if awarded, the business will remain open with current staffing and business operations for a minimum period of 3 months following the award of the ROBUST grant.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION:

  1. Taxable Retail Sales in March 2020 and March 2019, or other evidence of gross revenue decline beginning March 13, 2020.
  2. Lease, Mortgage or other documentation as proof of Lease or Mortgage
  3. Proof of Payroll for period closest to April 1, 2020.
  4. IRS Form 941
  5. Proof of receipt of or application for other forms of federal aid.
  6. Additional information, documentation or clarification may be requested.

PROGRAM LIMITATIONS:

The Rowlett Business Stimulus Grant program is not intended to and shall not be construed to confer any right, interest or entitlement to any person or business entity, and any or all grants under this program may be suspended, revoked or cancelled at any time.  Applications for grants will be uniformly considered based on compliance with eligibility criteria and on a first-come-first-served basis only; awards will not be given nor considered on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or any legally protected classification.  Due to limited funding, no person or business entity will be allowed overlapping awards or more than one award, nor more than the maximum allowable grant.  RCOAD reserves the right to decline any application for any non-discriminatory reason or to approve and provide grants of less than the maximum amount.  Following an award, if any one or more of the Criteria is not met or it is discovered that an application contains materially false or misleading information, then as a condition of an award and of this program, the applicant shall immediately refund all grant payments previously made and all costs incurred by the City and/or RCOAD, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

By submitting an application or by accepting an award, it is an express condition that the applicant and recipient indemnify, defend, release and hold harmless the City, RCOAD, and its members, officials, employees and representatives from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses and expenses (including reasonable attorney’s fees) directly or indirectly arising from or in connection with any act, omission or conduct of the City and/or RCOAD.

OPEN PERIOD:

The open period for the ROBUST grant was from 8:00 a.m., Friday, April 17, 2020 until 5:00 p.m., Thursday, April 30, 2020.

THIS GRANT IS NOW CLOSED