Town introduces Local Business Relief Program

By Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees convened another special virtual meeting Tuesday evening, hosted by Zoom. The first order of business was to swear in the newly appointed trustees and have them take their places on the board.

Trustees were appointed rather than elected at the April 7 municipal election due to there being four individuals running for the four seats available. There would not have been the necessity of having Berthoud residents cast votes for the four who were seeking seats, except that the individual garnering the least votes would take over the seat held by Pete Tomassi, who decided to resign from the board. His seat had two years remaining. Jeff Hindman, being the low vote getter, was relegated to fulfill the two years remaining on Tomossi’s seat.

The individuals who ran for trustee seats and the numbers of votes cast for each are as follows:

May Soricelli (1,381), Mike Grace (1,271), Lonnie Stevens (1,264), Hindman 940).

The voters retained Will Karspeck as mayor. He was running unopposed and gained 1,575 votes

The final item on the ballot was regarding whether to allow the Town of Berthoud to keep, and eventually spend, sales tax revenues which exceeded the amount specified in the Ordinance passed at the November 2018 general election. The voters approved the measure by a vote of 1214 to 736.

Maureen Dower was selected by the board to serve as Mayor-Pro Tem.

The trustees discussed methods for local business support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trustees were prepared to approve a sales tax relief program. Staff has earmarked $300,000 in general fund monies to fund the program.

An information sheet regarding the program states:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant and unforeseen impacts to the lives of so many people. It has especially impacted local and small businesses because of the stay-at-home orders and other public health restrictions that have severely limited normal economic activity. While the economic assistance programs that the Federal government enacted have been positive, as of April16, 2020 all Small Business Administration EIDL and PPP funding made available under the CARES Act has been exhausted. While the SBA and the U.S. Treasury are asking Congress to make additional funding available, Town staff feels it is even more important now to institute a local program for immediate local business relief.

As the Board is aware, the Town has been discussing a variety of business support programs. At a prior Board meeting, a program was approved to allow businesses to defer utility payments for bills accrued in March, April, and May, through the end of 2020 with no interest or penalties for accounts in good standing. As the COVID pandemic has continued, Town staff has been interacting with regional partners in economic development to consider a variety of programs being implemented across Northern Colorado. After much discussion and consideration, Town staff has prepared an outline for a program for the Board to consider. This program would deliver money directly to businesses via a rebate of sales taxes. In general, the outline of the rebate program is as follows:

Applicant must have a current Town Business Tax Certificate that was issued by the Town prior to January 31, 2020.

Place of business must be physically located in the Town of Berthoud limits.

Payments must be made to the business or DBA, not an individual.

One-page application.

Applicant must attach sales tax filing forms from December 2019, January 2020, and February 2020 (assuming you are a monthly filer). The amount of sales taxes actually paid to the Town of Berthoud for these three months will be used in calculating the relief payment.

Applicant will also attach filings from March 2019 and March 2020 to demonstrate a loss of revenue due to COVID.

If the applicant cannot demonstrate a loss of revenue, they are only eligible for the minimum relief payment ($2,000).

If the applicant has been in business less than 1 year, and cannot demonstrate a loss of revenue vs. 2019, the applicant is the only eligible for the minimum payment ($2,000).

If the applicant is a quarterly filer (less than $300 sales tax per month) the applicant is only eligible for the minimum payment ($2,000).

All other applicants who demonstrate a loss of revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions will receive a payment equal to 50% of the sales taxes paid to the Town of Berthoud in December 2019, as well as January and February 2020 (minimum of $2,000 and maximum of $10,000).

The Town will set aside $300,000 from the General Fund Reserve for the relief fund and it will be distributed on a first come/first serve basis.

Applications will be accepted beginning April 29, 2020. Processing may take up to 2 weeks. Checks will be mailed to the business address that is included on the application.

These terms are being proposed to the Board for consideration and comment. If the Board wanted to move forward with this proposed program, the specifics will be finalized and brought back to the Board for final approval on April 28, 2020.

The trustees approved a motion to direct staff move forward with the Business Support Program planning and report results at the next meeting.

The trustees discussed a proposal to establish Emergency Ordinance for Quasi-Judicial Hearings (Ordinance 1284) and Resolution 2020-07 – A resolution establishing emergency meeting procures.  Following discussion motions regarding the ordinance was passed after references to any emergency was removed. 

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