During its Nov. 16 meeting, Missouri City City Council established a payroll protection program for small businesses in the community.

Each business can apply for up to $20,000 in grant funding to cover pretax payroll expenses for W-2 employees. The payroll reimbursement payments will be made to eligible businesses for pay periods Nov. 2-Dec. 30.

This grant money is in addition to the $20,000 for which a business may apply through the city’s small business lease and mortgage assistance program.

“The Council approved this funding because Missouri City understands that its small businesses have borne the brunt of the economic damage from this pandemic,” City Manager Odis Jones said in a city press release. “From the grants fro leases and mortgages to the monies for payroll reimbursement, we are doing everything we can to keep these businesses going.”

The city has dedicated $1.7 million to the program, which is funded through the additional $2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding Fort Bend County allocated to Missouri City.

“Because [Fort Bend County] had had a program previously and [is] no longer providing it, we are able to run our PPP program,” Assistant City Manager Bill Atkinson said.

Business owners are eligible to apply for the program if the business:

  • Is in good standing with the city, county and state;

  • Is operational with no intent to close;

  • Has documented 2019 revenue of at least $25,000 and no more than $5 million;

  • Has between 1-50 employees; and

  • Has not accepted PPP grants from another entity to be used during the same frame.

Council Member Anthony Maroulis asked whether the city can open the program up to businesses who opened after March 2019 if there is excess funding for the program.

“I think everyone that qualifies should get first hands to [the money],” Maroulis said. “But if there’s money left over, can we perhaps go back to the very few who weren’t open for the entire year? Because in my mind, those are the ones that we really want to help because they are starting off with nothing, and they are really trying to employ, really trying to build their business up, and then, boom—something happened.”

While council decided not to change the requirement stating a business had to be in operation since March 2019—one year before the passage of the CARES Act—they left available the option to do so at a later time.

The application for the payroll protect program opened Nov. 17.