The Menahga City Council approved eligibility criteria for its COVID-19 Small Business Interruption Grant Program on Tuesday.

City Administrator Curt Kreklau said it’s modeled after the city of Detroit Lakes’ program.

“I like it because it’s not so invasive,” he said of the application. “I think this is simple, straightforward.”

Kreklau said he didn’t want to make the application process “a bank examiner’s task.” The application asks reasonable questions, he said, adding if a business can document it’s been hurt by the pandemic, that should be sufficient.

Qualifying businesses, located within Menahga’s city limits, are eligible for a grant of up to $10,000 if they were impacted by the governor’s emergency executive orders that temporarily closed operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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The amount of the grant is contingent upon available CARES Act funds “because that’s still a fluid amount,” Kreklau said.

The grants are intended to offset the costs of disrupted business between March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020.

The following expenses are considered eligible for funding:

  • Rent or mortgage;

  • Utilities;

  • Payroll, including taxes and benefits;

  • Property and liability insurance;

  • Personal protective equipment or other COVID-related expenses;

  • Other operating expenses, excluding inventory.

A small business is defined as a business with 25 or less full-time equivalents (FTEs). FTEs are calculated to work 40 hours per week. For example, two part-time employees, each working 20 hours per week, would equal 1 FTE.

Priority will be given to businesses that were mandated to be closed for 90-plus days, followed by those that were closed for 30-plus days.

Businesses who have not been awarded monies from the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, DEED Grants, Wadena County CARES Grants or other state/federal assistance funding will also be given priority.

All financial obligations with the city must be current.

Grants are not available to nonprofits, home-based businesses (except in-home child care providers), residential rental properties, lenders or businesses that derive income from gambling or adult entertainment.

Applications can be found on the city of Menahga’s website (cityofmenahga.com). They must be submitted online by 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30.