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Fayette County Ohio

April 2021 Update

By News

April 1, 2021

Welcome, April! Don’t let that snow fool you – spring truly is on the way! As I type, the Reds are playing (not very well, but they are playing!), and spring sports are underway at our local schools. We welcome this change of pace and pray we can all continue to enjoy the good things life has to offer in Fayette County.

Speaking of fun – Night at the Races is back this year! Along with Fayette Co. Travel & Tourism and the Fayette Co. Ag Society, we have added some fun, and it will now be called “Community Day at the races!” That’s right – a whole day of fun kicks off at noon on Wednesday, July 21st. Stay tuned for all the details, but if your business is interested in sponsoring a race, please reach out! We have a few sponsorship opportunities available and would welcome an opportunity to discuss those with you in person.

In observance of the Easter holiday, the office will be closed on Friday, April 2nd. However, we will be cutting the celebratory ribbon at the new Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and Jail tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. We hope you will join us for this momentous occasion!

I am forwarding a few important updates from the Governor’s office. Please see those items below:

HIGHER EDUCATION VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today that the state would begin working with local colleges and universities to offer vaccination clinics on campuses across the state. These higher-education vaccination clinics will start on various campuses next week and will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Although young people are less likely to get sick from the coronavirus, they are significant carriers of the virus,” said Governor DeWine. “By offering one-dose clinics on campus, students who wish to be vaccinated will have a nearby, convenient location to get the vaccine with their peers.”

The goal is to offer on-campus clinics to all of Ohio’s college students before the school year ends in May.

WORKPLACE VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio would begin working with employers and other organizations to offer workplace vaccination clinics throughout Ohio. Beginning the week of April 12, vaccine providers can allot up to 25 percent of their vaccine allocation to be used to vaccinate their own employees or to partner with local employers, labor unions, and other organizations to vaccinate their employees at their work locations.

LAUNCH OF APRIL ROUND OF TECHCRED

The next round of TechCred launches today and closes on April 30 at 3:00 p.m.
Ohio businesses can visit TechCred.Ohio.gov to apply and help their employees earn a new tech-focused credential at no cost.

More than 1,100 Ohio businesses have used TechCred, creating the opportunity for 19,841 technology-focused credentials to be earned by Ohio employees.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter weekend,
Julie

03.04.2021 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates
Good evening.
In Governor DeWine’s address this evening, he laid out a path to Ohio’s complete reopening. Currently, Ohio stands at 179 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. At such time that Ohio’s case count hits 50 cases (or less) per 100,000 for a period of two weeks, all health orders will be rescinded.
The revised orders released by the Ohio Department of Health are linked below.
If you are interested in helping our Fayette County Health Department with their vaccine clinics, please read the statement below provided to us by Melissa Havens, Fayette County EMA. You do not need to be medically trained, as they have many jobs available.
Can your business help at vaccination clinics?
As Johnson & Johnson has just received approval for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, more vaccine will be making their way into Fayette County. With this additional vaccine, more clinics will be held, and the sizes of those clinics will increase. Additional staff will be needed to assist in making these clinics run smoothly. If you think your business could help with additional staff, please let us know. The current need is for staff to work the registration tables as residents and community members come in to sign in. These clinics are being held Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the occasional Thursday, during the day. Days and times are not set in stone. Evening clinics could be scheduled at some point as well. If you have anyone to offer as a volunteer, we could accept them for a whole day, or just ½ day if that is all they are available. This could be for only 1 week, or it could be for the foreseeable future. Whatever works for you, we will take what we can get based on our needs.
Please contact Melissa Havens at the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency for further information at Melissa.havens@fayette-co-oh.com or 740-335-8264.
Enjoy your evening,
Julie

Webinar with Senator Brown

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News No Comments
February 23, 2021
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS / VENUE OPERATORS: Join Senator Brown and the Small Business Administration for a live webinar this Friday at 1:30 PM on federal relief programs that can support your small business.
Learn about PPP, EIDL, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, SBA Debt Relief – with live questions and answers.
A reservation is required for this session and can be made by clicking THIS LINK.

02.16.2021 Chamber News & Update

By News
February 16, 2021
Good afternoon. I hope you all are staying safe in this winter weather! We extend our heartfelt thanks to those working around the clock to clear our roads and care for those faced with emergencies. With the temperatures expected throughout the evening and tomorrow, we know their job will be increasingly difficult. We try to post closings, delays, and any pertinent information on our Facebook page, but we ask that for the most up-to-date information, you visit the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Revised Health Order Allows Food Service Stations to Reopen
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed an amended health order that allows for the reopening of self-service food stations in restaurants, bars, banquet and catering facilities, and services.
To read the health order, click here.
The order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on February 11, 2021.
The OSU South Centers continually provide our area with timely and pertinent information and free webinars. On Monday, March 8th, I encourage you to tune in to their latest training and learn about internships, apprenticeships, and work-based learning.
This webinar is FREE but you must pre-register. CLICK HERE to register today.

Stay safe, take care of your neighbor and yourself!

Have a great evening,
Julie

02.01.2021 Budget Reveal, Grant Opportunity & More!

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
February 1, 2021
Welcome, February!
Many of you have reached out regarding the grant opportunity I forwarded on Saturday. Below is the information if you happen to have missed it.
LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grants program. The latest application round is now open. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located.
All potential applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ and grant information before applying. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the relief funding program at this time but may be eligible for later rounds of funding.
Additional information can be located by clicking here:
Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted announced the 2022-2023 Ohio Budget today. Those interested will be able to read the budget in its entirety later this afternoon at www.budget.ohio.gov The text below is the press release just received from their office:
Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted Unveil Plan of More than $1 Billion Targeted to Strengthen and Grow Ohio Communities and Businesses
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today unveiled their Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2022 to 2023, which includes an aggressive plan to spur Ohio’s continued recovery by investing in communities, people, and businesses. Through the Investing In Ohio Initiative, the Executive Budget launches a strategic effort to invest more than $1 billion toward accelerating economic growth and ensuring economic vitality.
“We have a unique opportunity to make significant investments that will spur growth and economic renewal across the state,” said Governor DeWine. “The Investing In Ohio Initiative supports both our people and our economy as we continue to prepare for the future and showcase Ohio as the premier place to live and work.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative within the proposed Executive Budget includes $460 million to support Ohio’s small businesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal includes:
  • Investing $200 million in grants for bars and restaurants;
  • Investing $150 million in grants for Small Business Relief Grant applicants, who previously applied and are qualified;
  • Investing $50 million in grants for lodging industry businesses;
  • Investing $40 million in grants for indoor entertainment venues;
  • And investing $20 million in grants for new businesses, many of whom were unqualified to receive previous funding.
“It is a responsible, balanced budget that invests in our health, educational and economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We are championing career training and in-demand industry credentials that will help tens of thousands more Ohioans a year earn the skills that will prepare them for quality, good paying jobs without the high cost of a college education.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative also includes a $70 million investment to upskill Ohio’s workforce. This funding works to ensure that businesses have access to the talent needed to be successful, while upskilling Ohioans who are looking to acquire in-demand, tech-focused credentials. The workforce investments also include targeted funding for economically distressed rural and urban parts of Ohio. The proposal includes:
  • Investing an additional $5 million for 5,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred program in fiscal year 2021;
  • Funding $50 million ($25 million in each fiscal year 2022 and 2023) for 40,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred program;
  • And investing $15 million for workforce efforts in economically distressed rural and urban communities.
Ohio’s communities have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Investing In Ohio Initiative includes a targeted investment of $200 million to support infrastructure projects that will attract new jobs and investment opportunities. Additionally, the budget makes a landmark investment towards broadband expansion by providing $250 million to help bridge the digital divide.
At the onset of the pandemic, Governor DeWine took swift action to control state spending through targeted revenue reductions, which along with increased funding from the federal government, limited the economic impact of the pandemic on the state budget. The Investing In Ohio Initiative targets one-time investments to the most hard-hit industries in the pandemic.
“As we enter the year 2021 and emerge from winter, the path of economic recovery continues to be directly tied to beating this global COVID-19 pandemic. Ohioans, our families, friends and neighbors must remain vigilant,” said OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks. “Through these shared priorities and fiscal prudence, Governor DeWine charts a course of genuine stewardship with a balanced budget and expert and leading eyes on the changing marketplace.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative also includes a $50 million investment toward elevating Ohio’s standing on a national scale through a marketing campaign to promote the state as a world-class place to live, work, and learn. The initiative aims to showcase all that Ohio, and its people, have to offer, including its wide array of career opportunities, top-tier colleges and universities, premier destinations, and vibrant communities.
“This is our opportunity to tell people what we already know: Ohio is the best place to find your future- a family, a career, an education, and a place to call home,” said Governor DeWine. “We want to position Ohio as the place to be. After the pandemic proved that people could work anywhere, we want to convince them to live and work here.”
Governor DeWine’s proposed Executive Budget also invests in key administration initiatives, such as RecoveryOhio, Children’s Initiative, H2Ohio, workforce development, TechCred, and broadband.
The proposed Executive Budget “blue book,” including Governor DeWine’s full budget recommendations, and budget highlights, can be found on budget.ohio.gov.
Enjoy your afternoon,
Julie

01.30.21 GRANT OPPORTUNITY!

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
January 30, 2021
Good Saturday morning!
While this is short notice, it is worth forwarding! A new grant opportunity has surfaced that is available to small, rural communities only. I have reviewed the application process, and it appears quick and relatively easy. I am available this weekend via email or cell (740) 607-7733 should you have questions about the application process.
LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grants program. The latest application round is now open. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located.
All potential applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ and grant information before applying. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the relief funding program at this time but may be eligible for later rounds of funding.
Additional information can be located by clicking here:
Enjoy your weekend,
Julie

01.26.2021 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

January 26, 2021

Good afternoon.

Recently, Attorney General Dave Yost has asked Congress to protect hundreds of thousands of working Ohioans who may have had fraudulent unemployment claims filed in their names, shielding them from having to pay taxes on benefits that they never received.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is expected to send 1.7 million 1099-G forms this month to those whom ODJFS have a record of receiving unemployment benefits. However, it is anticipated that a significant amount of the 1099-Gs will likely go to Ohioans who did not file for or receive unemployment assistance.

“Construction workers, daycare providers, service industry workers – the backbone of this state – have worked hard throughout the pandemic and now the government is going to ask them to pay taxes on money they didn’t receive – it’s just not right,” Yost said.

Other states are reporting similar problems with fraudulent claims, which is why Yost is turning to Congress.

Yost believes there’s enough evidence of fraud to notify Ohio’s congressional delegation that it should suspend tax collection efforts and pause fees or interest from taxes owed on the claims until they are investigated.

He sent a letter to those members of Congress on Thursday asking for safe harbor provisions on behalf of Ohioans.

Yost is specifically asking Congress to consider:
• Exclude the amount from the income for the taxpayer in the given year until a final determination is made by the state unemployment compensation administrator that the amount is valid.

• Once an amount is determined to be valid, the IRS shall apply the amount to the tax year in which it was determined to be valid without any penalties or interest.

• If an amount certified to the IRS is determined to be invalid, the unemployment compensation administrator shall indicate to the IRS that the 1099-G was issued in error, and assist the taxpayer with any correction the taxpayer is required to make to modify their reported income to the IRS.

Any incidents of identity theft regarding unemployment benefits need to be reported to ODJFS. Ohioans can report those issues online at https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/.

If you or an employee has been the victim of this type of fraud and you need assistance sorting out the ‘to-do’ list, please call the office. Unfortunately, I know first hand what steps must be taken.


2 more days to apply for TechCred!
The seventh TechCred application period opened January 4th and closes on January 29th at 3:00 p.m.
TechCred helps businesses upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused credentials. Businesses can receive up to $2,000 for each tech-focused credential earned, up to $30,000 per employer each application period. Simply put, this is a great way to have your employees upskilled at no cost to you.
Since the program’s start, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.
Businesses can learn more and apply at TechCred.Ohio.gov. Please don’t let this credentialing period get away from you! Call the office, and I will walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Wishing you all a great Tuesday evening,
Julie

Paycheck Protection Program – UPDATE

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
Good Friday afternoon!
Below you will find a comprehensive explanation of the most current round of PPP loans. Please remember that while the portal for application is open, your personal lender may not have the information necessary to assist you at this time. Please be patient as they await direction and appropriate loan documents. This is a great time to gather your finances and read up on what will be expected of you throughout the loan application process.
If you received a PPP Loan during the first application period, the information below pertains to you and your business:
Second-draw PPP loans
One of the biggest changes with the new PPP is that Congress made funding available to businesses that had previously received a PPP loan. Borrowers are eligible for a second-draw PPP loan of up to $2 million, provided they have:
  • 300 or fewer employees.
  • Used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan on or before the expected date for the second PPP loan to be disbursed to the borrower. The IFR also clarifies that the borrower must have spent the full amount of the first PPP loan on eligible expenses.
  • Experienced a revenue reduction of 25% or more in all or part of 2020 compared with all or part of 2019. This is calculated by comparing gross receipts in any 2020 quarter with an applicable quarter in 2019, or, in a provision added in the IFR, a borrower that was in operation for all four quarters of 2019 can submit copies of its annual tax forms that show a reduction in annual receipts of 25% or greater in 2020 compared with 2019.
The Economic Aid Act did not provide a general definition of gross receipts for determining a borrower’s revenue reduction, so the new guidance makes the definition consistent with the definition of receipts in 13 C.F.R. Section 121.104 of SBA’s size regulations. Specifically, the IFR defines gross receipts to include all revenue in whatever form received or accrued (in accordance with the entity’s accounting method) from whatever source, including from the sales of products or services, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, fees, or commissions, reduced by returns and allowances. Forgiven first-draw PPP loans are not included in the 2020 gross receipts.
First-time applicants:
The Economic Aid Act makes first-draw PPP loans available to borrowers that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, and come from one of the following groups:
  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Not-for-profits, including churches.
  • Accommodation and food services operations (those with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes starting with 72) with fewer than 500 employees per physical location.
  • Sec. 501(c)(6) business leagues, such as chambers of commerce, visitors’ bureaus, etc., and “destination marketing organizations” that have 300 or fewer employees and do not receive more than 15% of receipts from lobbying. The lobbying activities must comprise no more than 15% of the organization’s total activities and have cost no more than $1 million during the most recent tax year that ended prior to Feb. 15. 2020. Sports leagues are not eligible.
  • News organizations that are majority-owned or controlled by an NAICS code 511110 or 5151 business or not-for-profit public broadcasting entities with a trade or business under NAICS code 511110 or 5151. The size limit for this category is no more than 500 employees per location.
PPP applicants must submit documentation sufficient to establish eligibility and to demonstrate the qualifying payroll amount, which may include, as applicable, payroll records; payroll tax filings; Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming; income and expenses from a sole proprietorship; or bank records.
Eligible costs
PPP borrowers can have their first- and second-draw loans forgiven if the funds are used on eligible costs. As with the first round of the PPP, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in the revised PPP include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. In addition, the following costs are now eligible:
  • Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines.
  • Covered property damage costs related to property damage and vandalism or looting due to public disturbances in 2020 that were not covered by insurance or other compensation.
  • Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations.
  • Covered operating expenditures, which refer to payments for any business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations; product or service delivery; the processing, payment, or tracking of payroll expenses; human resources; sales and billing functions; or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records, and expenses.
To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll over a covered period between eight or 24 weeks.
Simplified forgiveness
Borrowers that receive a PPP loan of $150,000 or less shall receive forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA has yet to create the simplified application form but must do so by Jan. 20. The form may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.
To apply, CLICK HERE then choose the appropriate option – PPP First Draw or PPP Second Draw.
Again, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Many have called with questions and we are happy to help you navigate. I will do my best to answer your questions or provide you with the necessary resources.
Monday, January 8th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and as such, many of our businesses will be closed in observation. Enjoy your weekend!
Julie

10.06.2020 Update

By News

New business, new member, grant opportunities and today’s top Chamber news!

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of Fayette County‘s newest business, DIS-TRAN Steel. We are excited about the industry and careers they pledge to bring to Fayette County. Below is a press release from DIS-TRAN. I ask that you share the information regarding their upcoming career fair and expansion to Fayette County. Please also visit our Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and share the career fair post!
One of the country’s leading steel pole manufacturers is expanding operations and opening a new steel plant in Washington Court House. DIS-TRAN Steel, a Louisiana-based company, will move into an existing facility at 1629 Old US 35 SE, according to an announcement from the company, and will produce tapered tubular steel poles for the electric utility industry.
The expansion provides the space and manpower needed for DIS-TRAN Steel to better serve its customers in the Ohio Valley, Northeast and Upper Midwest parts of the United States, according to the release. Over the next five years, DIS-TRAN Steel plans to hire 200 new employees in Washington C.H. to provide high performance products for its customers unique and ever-changing needs.
“We’ve monitored the market for a long time. There is a strong demand for steel to maintain and expand the electrical grid and Ohio is strategically the best location for DIS-TRAN Steel to grow, not just our products and services, but also our team,” said Donnie Roberts, PE, president of DIS-TRAN Steel.
The facility will give DIS-TRAN Steel an additional 58,000 square feet of space on a 25-acre lot.
Jarrod Gemar, VP of business operations for DIS-TRAN Steel, said the company will reach full production capability within the first few months of 2021.
“This expansion is intended to build the foundation for the future of our company, and we see this growth as vital to supporting our customers in the development of America’s utility infrastructure. We chose Washington Court House because we thought that this community best shared our values and culture, as well as, provided the skilled workforce necessary to support our growth plans. We look forward to working together with local businesses and officials to provide significant opportunities for local workers and set the stage for future growth.” says Gemar.
DIS-TRAN Steel officials said they excited about the expansion and the potential it brings to the community and surrounding areas.
“The Fayette County Commissioners are grateful to DIS-TRAN Steel for the large investment and quality new jobs this project brings. Working with the City of Washington Court House, we are pleased to support such an important project and welcome the business to our community,” said Dan Dean, chairman of Fayette County Board of Commissioners.
The company is looking to hire 40-50 immediate new team members and will host a Job Fair Oct. 20 and 21. Candidates interested in registering for the Job Fair can do so at https://web.distran.com/job-fair-registration

County Commissioners announce CARES Act Grant Program

The Fayette County Commissioners recently announced a small business grant program, funded by the CARES Act, for county-based businesses. If you are a business owner with 25 or fewer employees, and suffered loss due to the pandemic, please fill out the application and return to the County Commissioners office or the Chamber of Commerce office. Each grant award is worth up to $10,000.00 and questions regarding the application can be directed to the Commissioner’s office or by calling the chamber at 740.335.0761. Click the green button below to access the application.

County CARES Act Grant Application

Recovery, Adaptation & Innovation | Small Business Week

By News

Recovery, Adaptation & Innovation

While it looks different than celebrations of the past, this week is National Small Business Week. Unfortunately, we are unable to celebrate together, but rest assured we are celebrating your resiliency and success. If your business is a member of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and you would like me to feature your story on our Facebook page, please contact me! I would love to share why you opened your business, your favorite part of your workday, or why you feel Fayette County is the best fit for you. Email your submissions to julie@fayettecountyohio.com or give me a call at 740.335.0761. Please DO NOT reply directly to this email.
At our fingertips is a valuable resource, free to all small business owners. Melissa Carter, Business Specialist with the OSU South Centers Small Business Development Center is available to assist you. As you may remember, Melissa speaks at many of our educational events and is also available to you on a one-on-one basis. Join Melissa this Thursday, September 24th for a free Zoom webinar aimed at preparing your business for the upcoming Holiday season. The event is free to attend but you must register. Details can be found by following THIS LINK.
As you will remember, I shared information from the City of Washington Court House regarding their CARES Act Grant program for small businesses. I am pleased to announce the Fayette County Commissioners will also be providing grants to those businesses who qualify and are located outside the City of Washington Court House. Details regarding their program will be announced next week and forwarded to you as they are available.
Director of Economic Development Chelsie Baker reminds business owners that these grants are up to $10,000 each and are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications can be picked up at the City Building during regular business hours or downloaded at the link provided below. Additionally, Chelsie is available to answer questions by calling 740.636.2340 or via email at cbaker@cityofwch.com.
Please use this National Small Business Week as a reminder to support those who support our community. When you find yourself in need of a good or service, please SHOP LOCAL, DINE LOCAL, THINK LOCAL. Together we will continue to rebuild and revitalize.
Make it a great evening, Fayette County!
Julie