Program Guidelines

Program Announcement

The Small Business Assistance Program application period ended at midnight, May 14, 2020.


The Small Business Assistance Program comprises four component assistance programs. Please refer to the program guidelines below for specific requirements of each assistance program.

Business (Mill) Tax Deferral

  • Your business (Mill) tax account must be current as of March 31, 2020.
  • Your business must be located within the City limits of Modesto.
  • Your business had 50 or fewer employees as of  March 1, 2020.
  • Your gross business receipts must average less than $500,000 per quarter in the four quarters ending March 31, 2020.
  • Provide documentation that the business has been operational for at least one year.

Business License Fee Deferral

  • Your business license must be active as of March 1, 2020.
  • Your business must be located within the City limits of Modesto.
  • Your business had 50 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020.
  • Your gross business receipts must average less than $500,000 per quarter in the four quarters ending March 31, 2020.
  • Provide documentation that the business has been operational for at least one year.

City Utility Bill Deferral

  • The address for your City of Modesto Utility account must be solely a business address.  Home-based businesses do not quality for this billing deferral program
  • Your business must have been current on its City of Modesto Utility bill as of March 31, 2020.
  • The applicant must be named on the City of Modesto Utility account number provided in the application.
  • Provide documentation that the business has been operational for at least one year.

Zero-Interest Forgivable Loan

The City of Modesto has developed an emergency relief package for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 public safety measures.  The COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program (the Program) will assist with up to $10,000 for eligible businesses affected by the pandemic for the retention and/or rehiring of employees.  Program funds will only be utilized to assist with Operational Costs; such as, paying for employee salaries, tenant space rent, tenant space utilities/insurance, etc.

This program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Certain eligibility criteria must be met in order to be eligible for this funding source. 

Eligibility

  • Must be a City of Modesto business impacted by the COVID-19 self-isolating period, such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, entertainment, and retail;
  • Must have documentable business income loss- this can be a self-certified letter detailing volume of business loss and impacts;
  • Must have mortgage/lease obligations;
  • Must be either a business with five (5) employees or fewer AND owner earning 80% of Area Median Income, OR
  • Have fewer than 50 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, with at least one employee in jeopardy of losing their job, AND a commitment to hire employee(s) back within 6 weeks of the end of this COVID-19 self- isolating period;
  • Have a current City Business License Permit;
  • Provide documentation that the business has been operational for at least one year; and,
  • Not have engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations, with federal regulations taking precedence over local or state regulations.

The City of Modesto will give preference to:

  • Businesses with fewer than 25 FTE employees;
  • Businesses that are unable to sustain operations as a “take-out” only entity; and,
  • Businesses unable to sustain due to “self-isolating” or reduced operational hours.

The following businesses would not be eligible to request or receive assistance through the Program:

  • Lending and investment institutions;
  • Insurance companies;
  • Golf courses, racetracks or gambling facilities;
  • Nonprofit entities;
  • Home based businesses; and,
  • Chain stores.

Assistance is in the form of a deferred zero interest loan for the term of one (1) year; at the end of the one-year term, the loan is forgiven.  Loans will only be made payable if business owners fail to fulfill their commitment to retain or rehire employees after the health crisis is over. The City will require repayment only if terms of the Loan Agreement are not met.