Financial assistance programs still available

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce

Now that the next round of federal funding has been released, some businesses may still want to look into financial assistance programs. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is still very appealing to a majority of businesses as the program includes an attractive eight-week “forgiveness” period for payroll reimbursement as well as rent, mortgage and utility expenses. If you have not looked into the program, you may want to, as all businesses have still not been eligible to open their doors and that financial need may be becoming more necessary. 

There are several publications that have recently come out which might help the employer figure out what they can borrow, what can be forgiven, and what part of the loan might need to be paid back. The pay-back option is favorable with only a 1 percent interest rate. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put out a document explaining the various regulations and expenses that can be included and forgiven. It also clearly describes the eight-week or 56-day period when the loan must be used. 

It is important for borrowers to know that the loan goes into effect the day or the pay period after you receive the funds. So timing is important for many employers. Calculating payroll is also important and bringing employees back to work is also important. Many employers are worried about employees that do not return to work although work has been offered. There are several exceptions to this loan forgiveness reduction. The first exception is if the employer has made a good faith effort to bring the employee back, it is in writing and it was rejected by the employee. The second exception is if the employee was fired for cause, voluntarily resigned or voluntarily requested a reduction of hours. Again, this must be documented. Review this document put out by the U.S. Chamber at: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/uscc_ppp_forgiveness-guide.pdf. 

Another helpful document for the PPP program is a worksheet put out by the Small Business Association. Employers can go through this worksheet and calculate the benefits and challenges in applying for this money. Remember that you do need to work with your bank or accountant to apply for these funds. Access this PPP form at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/3245-0407-SBA-Form-3508-PPP-Forgiveness-Application.pdf. 

If you have been on the fence about applying for some assistance funds, review these two documents and see if this program might not be able to ease some of the financial crush you might be experiencing. Pagosa has a number of good accounting agencies and lending agencies that are experienced in helping our businesses through this stressful time. Reach out and at least see if this is a fit for your business.

No word yet on the Fourth of July

The Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has been receiving a steady stream of inquiries about the Fourth of July festivities. 

As of the last town council meeting on May 21, the parade, carnival, Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival, the rodeo and the fireworks are all still on hold. 

Pagosa is forever hopeful that we will be able to enjoy all or even some of our traditional Fourth of July festivities. As soon as we know the orders that come down from the governor’s office, we will inform our residents. The community will approach each of these events thoughtfully while still working within the guidelines proffered. Stay tuned.

 

This story was posted on June 1, 2020.