Seneca CARES – Frequently Asked Questions

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Question Topics:

  • 1. Decline in Revenue – Dates
  • 2. Counting Employees – Part-time v. full-time
  • 3. Counting Employees – Independent contractors
  • 4. Date Established – In and outside of Tiffin
  • 5. Eligible Businesses – Revenue minimum ($15,000)
  • 6. Eligible Businesses – Operational business
  • 7. Eligible Expenses – PPP
  • 8. Application – NAICS
  • 9. Eligible Businesses – Corporate limits of Tiffin
  • 10. Eligible Expenses – Equipment purchase
  • 11. Counting Employees – Seasonal businesses
  • 12. Decline in Revenue – 3 time periods don’t apply
  • 13. Eligible Businesses – Appeals process
  • 14. Reporting – Expense documentation
  • 15. Co-ops – Business Form

1. Question:

What are the beginning and ending dates for determining the 15 percent decline in revenue?

A business can select any of the following as a basis for verifying determining:

  • March 15 – May 30, 2020 versus March 15 – May 30, 2019.
  • January 1 – June 30, 2020 versus January 1 – June 30, 2019.
  • YTD 2020 (at time of application) versus same time period in 2019.

If the business can make an argument for a different comparative period due to the nature of their business (e.g., seasonality), this will be taken into consideration.

2. Question:

The program is eligible for up to 30 employees. Is this full-time equivalent or employees? What if there is a business with more than 30 employees, but 80 percent are part-time?

According to the Program Guidelines, “Employees are defined as those working more than 20 hours per week and provided a W-2 and/or 1099 at the end of the year and/or principal owner, sole proprietors, or partners.” If those part-time workers are working more than 20 hours per week, then then they are considered employees for purposes of the program. If you have workers with less than 20 hours, then they can be combined to be an “employee equivalent.” For example, two employees working 15 hours per week would be counted as one employee (30 hours per week).

3. Question:

A hair salon business with an owner and two part-time, 1099 (independent contractor) employees is looking to apply. Would they be eligible and for how much?

Yes, businesses with 1099 employees are eligible, and assuming the business met all of the other eligibility requirements, there is no problem applying for funds. The owner, who works in the business, would count as one employee, and if the other two employees work a total of 20 hours or more per week combined, then the business would be eligible for up to $6,000.

4. Question:

Are businesses that were established outside Seneca County before January 1, 2019 but established a Seneca County presence after that date eligible?

Yes, businesses that were established prior to January 1, 2019 outside of Seneca County have demonstrated that they have the staying power and economic viability to survive almost two years. The fact that their Tiffin location was established after that date does not make the business ineligible. Accordingly, businesses established prior to January 1, 2019 and whose Seneca County location was established between January 1, 2019 and March 15, 2020 are eligible.

5. Question:

Why are businesses with less than $15,000 in revenue ineligible?

This program is meant to assist small, but substantial businesses. Although side businesses making less than $15,000 annually are valid and important contributors to the economy and to households, they are not deemed substantial enough to be able to help given the limited funds available.

6. Question:

Why aren’t businesses closed after March 15, 2020 who aren’t operational at the time of application eligible?

The programs around the state that were surveyed did not provide grants to businesses that remained closed if they were legally allowed to open. The intent of the program is to provide relief to some of those businesses who’ve been able to survive this far, heading into winter, when the economy will likely slow compounding the effects of the coronavirus. The intent is to help them keep operating. This doesn’t mean those who were not able to recover don’t deserve help and funding; it means that with very limited funds, governments are forced to make the hard choice to invest in helping those who have been able to survive (so far) get farther through what is still a difficult situation, with no idea of when things will recover.

7. Question:

I noticed that the Program Guidelines State that any expenses already funded by the PPP Loan are not eligible. Does this mean that if we had already had assistance for salaries and rent through the PPP Loan program we couldn’t use this grant for the same even though the funds were all used up several months ago?

Salaries and rent are eligible categories under this grant. A business can receive PPP (or EIDL) loan assistance and use this program for salaries and rent as long as they are not for the same salaries and rent. When a business files its close-out report, it will provide documentation and dates for what expenses it is covering. If audited, a business would also have to show for which months (or time period) it received the PPP loan. They can not be the same expenses.

8. Question:

If a business could qualify under two (or more) different NAICS codes, should it pick the one that is the majority of their work, or should they include both numbers since they both apply?

A business should provide its primary NAICS code, meaning the one that covers the largest category of their work. For example, if a business did 40 percent of their work under NAICS Code 1, 35 percent under NAICS Code 2, and 25 percent under NAICS Code 3, they should provide only NAICS Code 1.

9. Question:

I am looking at eligibility for the grant for our business, but section 5 says that the business must be in Seneca County, but outside of the cities of Fostoria and Tiffin. Does that specifically mean outside the city/corporate limits?

Yes, the business must be located outside the corporate (city) limits, because there is dedicated funding for businesses inside Tiffin (Tiffin CARES) and Fostoria city limits. From the Application section of the Program Guidelines:

“Please note that a Tiffin zip code or address does not necessarily mean a business is located within the corporate limits of the city of Tiffin. The easiest way to check is to find the Parcel ID at the Seneca County Auditor website (search by address, owner, map). If it begins with the letter P or Q, it is generally within the city of Fostoria (P) or Tiffin (Q).”

10. Question:

The program specifies lease or rental payments. Can an equipment purchase qualify?

Generally, no. If, however, the equipment was needed in order to comply with regulations related to coronavirus, it may qualify. Please contact us with specifics.

11. Question:

I have a business that is seasonal. I typically do not get started for the year until mid-May, and my season is over in October. This is weather dependent of course. I had 3 employees including myself this summer but they did not start until after March 15. One of those employees I hired through the Youth Employment program. All 3 of us averaged between 20 to 30 hours throughout the summer. Am I eligible to apply for the 6K grant or do I need to apply for the 3K grant?

Because of the seasonal nature of your business, those employees would count, and you would qualify for the $6,000 grant. Additionally, in order for the Youth Employment program employee to count, they would have to be employees of your business, not employed by a government agency. If their wages/salaries are covered by a government agency, those expenses are not eligible. 

12. Question:

I am looking at the application and I am at task 2, Funding + Expenses Info. Although our business was up and running at the end of 2016, we do not have revenue info for those three periods of time since we started to open to public since August 2019. Any advice? Is there an outlet?

Since your business was established prior to January 1, 2019 (even though it wasn’t open to the public), it is eligible. We recommend you provide reasonable comparable data. For example, a four or five month comparison: August 1 – November 30, 2019 versus March 1 – June 30, 2020.

13. Question:

Our business is not eligible. Is there an appeals process?

There is not an appeals process to change the guidelines. The guidelines are part of a legal contract signed with Seneca County to administer the program. 

14. Question:

If a business pays for an eligible expense with an ACH or with cash, does it have to be a check or can they use a deposit ticket, an email confirmation or ACH records?

Businesses must provide documentation that substantiates the expense in the close-out report. If it does that, it should be acceptable. This does not necessarily need to be a check.

15. Question:

Are co-ops eligible for funding under this program? They aren’t specifically listed as eligible.

The program seeks to support legal forms of business negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Co-ops are a legal business form in Ohio and are therefore eligible for funding under this program.