§ 156.05 GRANTS AND INCENTIVES.
   (A)   The City Manager will promulgate rules and regulations governing the requirements, procedures, terms, and scope of grants and incentives listed in this section. All grants and incentives may be suspended by the City Manager.
      (1)   Requirements. In order to be eligible for these grants and incentives, business owners and/or the owner of the property in which these businesses are located must meet the following requirements subject to exceptions as noted:
         (a)   Only business or buildings that are to be used for target businesses, restaurants, retail stores, or cultural or entertainment focused will qualify;
         (b)   Applicants must agree to background, credit, and references assessments if required by program regulations;
         (c)   Available for commercial property owners and business owners located within the Downtown area only;
         (d)   Government buildings, government entities, national franchises, and other entities that have five or more operating locations are not eligible;
         (e)   Incentivized improvements are to remain in place and maintained for a minimum of five years unless the HDIP Committee approves earlier changes;
         (f)   All city property taxes and licenses must be current;
         (g)   Additional requirements for each program may apply;
         (h)   Program participants must agree to membership in any merchant association or similar group that may be established by downtown merchants provided there is no mandatory membership fee or time commitments that average more than one hour per week;
         (i)   Applicants cannot have more than one approved grant or incentive active at one time.
   (B)   Property owner grants and incentives.
      (1)   Commercial property rehabilitation program. This incentive provides reimbursement for some debris removal, water tap fees, and water usage costs for up to 90 days. Water related reimbursements shall not exceed $600 in any case. Properties which qualify for this program are those that meet the following requirements:
         (a)   Are located Downtown;
         (b)   Are commercial or intended for commercial use;
         (c)   Have planned improvements to be made to them which would equal at least 5% of the value of the property as shown on the most recent assessment by the Property Valuation Office (PVA);
         (d)   The owner must agree to reserve the street level floor of the building for businesses such as restaurants, retail stores, or cultural or entertainment focused, or be considered a current target business, for five calendar years from the date of the first reimbursement payment with the Downtown Coordinator or City Manager making the determination as to whether proposed tenants meet the criteria;
         (e)   The owner must agree that use of the street level floor of the building for nonconforming business or entity will result in the loss of any future grant funds and/or incentives and repayment of grant funds or incentives received;
         (f)   The owner remains in good standing with the city regarding all licenses, taxes and utilities.
   (C)   Business owner grants and incentives. Please note that incentive approvals and amounts will be dependent upon available budgetary funds and the number of requests under consideration.
      (1)   Beautification micro-grants. Businesses can receive a match of up to $500 for eligible beautification projects including painting, lighting, or the addition of flowers or art.
      (2)   Facade/signage grants. This financial incentive will reimburse a match for eligible improvements  to the exterior  of a commercial property up to 80% of the total project costs. Grant amount is not to exceed $5,000. Grant specific guidelines are as follows:
         (a)   Grants are not awarded for work done prior to approval;
         (b)   Work must be completed within 180 days of grant award;
         (c)   The HDIP Committee will verify that the work was done according to the approved application before reimbursing funds;
         (d)   Eligible improvements are as follows:
            1.   Repair or purchase of new awnings;
            2.   Removal of non-historic materials (e.g. siding that covers transom windows, bricked-over window or door openings, removing paint from brick, and the like);
            3.   Exterior painting (except for applying paint to unpainted brick, some exceptions to this may be granted);
            4.   Exterior lighting or interior storefront window display lighting that remains on during evening hours;
            5.   Replace and/or install new signage;
            6.   Other improvements may qualify on a case-by- case basis.
      (3)   Historic Building Facade Grant Program. This will be a reimbursement match of eligible improvements to the exterior of historic commercial properties up to 50% of the total project costs. Grant amount is not to exceed $5,000. Eligible improvements are as follows:
         (a)   Masonry or mortar joint repair following historic guidelines for repair;
         (b)   Window or door repair/replacement conforming to National Standards for Rehabilitation;
         (c)   Transom and window repair/replacement conforming to National Standards of Rehabilitation;
         (d)   Replacement of architectural details;
         (e)   Other improvements may qualify on a case-by-case basis.
      (4)   Business Expansion Incentive Grant Program. This program offers up to $5,000 per applicant to reimburse equipment, furniture, or other tangible assets associated with the relocation or start-up of the applicant's business into Downtown.  Reimbursement is only available for purchases made after approval of the application and requires documentation of serial numbers, order numbers, or other identifying information.
      (5)   Upper Level Rent Subsidy Grant Program. Businesses which do not fit  the target  business  requirements  (such as attorneys, accountants, or other professional services) or non-profit entities currently located at street level of a commercial building within Downtown.  This rent subsidy would be a reimbursement of monthly rent in the amount of 50% of the rent payment up to a maximum of$400 each month. This program is subject to the following:
         (a)   The application must be made prior to the relocation;
         (b)   The subsidy will cover a term of 12 months with a maximum of 12 consecutive monthly reimbursement payments;
      (6)   Under One Roof Program. Owners of commercial properties located within Downtown are eligible to apply for assistance of up to 80% match up to $5,000, to convert the street level floor to a shared space with multiple target businesses operating together. This program is subject to the following:
         (a)   Each business must have a minimum of 500 square feet of space and the street level of the building must have at least 1,500 square feet of total space available for rent.
         (b)   An agreement must be entered into between the property owner and the HDIP Committee codifying the terms of the agreement which includes, but is not limited to, the requirement of a five-year term.
         (c)   The property owner will be responsible for finalizing any rental/lease agreement which must be for a term of at least one year.
         (d)   The businesses recruited must all meet the general requirements and be subject to the restriction found in this chapter.
         (e)   Each of these businesses will automatically be approved for a facade/signage grant. The recruited businesses must agree that a portion of these grants may be pooled to improve the facade and/or signage of the entrance with the remainder being evenly allocated to each of their internal spaces.
         (f)   An additional reimbursement amount may be granted to cover all or some construction costs necessary to prepare the available space to accommodate the agreed upon number of businesses.
      (7)   Tax reimbursement for blighted or abandoned properties. Businesses that occupy buildings that have been abandoned or blighted for 12 months, or greater, may be eligible for city property tax reimbursement for up to two years, if the business does not occupy the property prior to the application date, and the business is in good standing with the city regarding licenses, taxes and utilities.  The tax will be paid by the business and then reimbursed.
(Ord. 2020-06, passed 12-18-19)