Pelican city, Otter Tail County collaborating on funds for business, non-profit groups 

Applications are now being accepted from eligible Otter Tail County small businesses for grants up to $10,000 to assist with operating expenses and costs incurred during the pandemic. 

Non-profit organizations in Pelican Rapids may also qualify for up to $10,000 in assistance. 

Pelican Rapids city and Otter Tail County are collaborating on the relief program. The Pelican council discussed the relief program Sept. 8 with Amy Baldwin, of the Otter Tail economic development department. 

Important for businesses and non-profit organizations to note is the deadline: Sept. 30. 

The city of Pelican has put up $100,000 from its share COVID-19 relief funds. Meanwhile, the county has about $2.5 million—to be distributed county-wide. 

The county and Pelican city pools of funds will be dovetailed, which was discussed at length at the Sept. 8 council meeting. 

A $10,000 award is the maximum. If the demand and number of applicants are high, total awards may be reduced in an effort to spread the relief as much as possible, noted Baldwin. 

Home-based, sole proprietor businesses qualify

Also, the criteria may limit or reduce certain applicants—depending on circumstances. For example, the county and the city are opening up this round of relief to smaller, home-based businesses. But, it was aso noted at the meeting that a home business or a sole proprietor may not be able to show revenue loss to qualify for the full $10,000. 

The Sept. 30 deadline will help determine the awards. And based on early response in the Pelican Rapids area, there may not be enough funds to go around—at $10,000 each. 

“People are aware of the program,” said Councilman Curt Markgraf, suggesting that the number of applicants could very well reduce total pay-outs—based on the number of calls he already received. City Clerk Danielle Harthun also confirmed that she has received a number of calls at city hall. 

Council members agreed that, if demand exceeds the sums, the pool of money may need to be redistributed.

More information, including program guidelines and an online application, is available at the city and county websites.

City administrator Don Solga encouraged applicants to consult the website. Also, questions can be directed to the Baldwin’s Otter Tail County offices, at 218-998-8050. 

Pelican, area non-profits can also apply 

Non-profit organizations may also be eligible for COVID-related relief.

Organizations must be a 501(c)(3) designated. 

Funds may be used for payroll, rent, utilities and non-payroll expenses such as technology upgrades and protective-safety equipment. 

Council discusses relief from liquor license fees 

Forgiving, or partially waiving, city liquor license fees was brought up for discussion by Mayor Brent Frazier. 

This would impact several Pelican establishments, including Muddy Moose, the VFW Club and Taqueria Escobar. Dining operations have been especially hard hit during the COVID outbreak, prompting some cities and jurisdictions to reduce, prorate or even eliminate liquor fees. 

“We’re down 75 percent,” said Councilman Markgraf, who is also an officer with the Pelican VFW Post. “And I’m sure other liquor establishments are in the same boat.” 

Otter Tail County Non-Profit Relief Response Fund

Eligible Non-Profits

To be eligible, non-profits must meet all of the following criteria as of March 1, 2020:

-Be a locally operated non-profit, 501(c)(3) business that serves Otter Tail County with a physical presence in Otter Tail County.  Non-profits are not required to have their main office physically located within Otter Tail County.

-Able to demonstrate a loss of income or increase in demand for services and/or cost of service delivery due to COVID-19.

-Have less than 50 FTE employees (volunteers are not included in this number).

-Be open and operating/providing services on or before January 15, 2020.

-Must be in good regulatory standing with the State of Minnesota, Otter Tail County, and city/township in which the business is located.  This includes being in compliance with applicable City and/or County ordinances, codes, and licensing and being current with any taxes, utility bills or other charges or liabilities.

-Have a board of directors or local advisory board comprised of a majority of Minnesota residents.  A local affiliate of a national organization must have a local advisory board.

-Funds will not be awarded to individuals.

-Religious organizations with a social services component that is available to the general public and not restricted by ethnicity, gender, orientation or ability is eligible.  Religious organizations without a social services component are ineligible.

Small Business Relief, Reopening Grant Eligibility

Eligible Businesses
-Must be an independently owned and operated for-profit business with a physical establishment in Otter Tail County or owned by a resident of Otter Tail County, if home-based.
-Home-based businesses must document that the business is a primary source of income.
-Must have been operating and generating revenue in Otter Tail County prior to January 15, 2020.
-Must be in good regulatory standing with the State of Minnesota, Otter Tail County, and city/township in which the business is located. This includes being in compliance with applicable City and/or County ordinances, codes, and licensing and being current with any taxes, utility bills or other charges or liabilities.
-Must demonstrate a minimum 10% loss in revenue in a consecutive three-month period between March 1-August 31.
-Must have less than 50 full time equivalent employees as of August 1, 2020.
Ineligible Businesses
-Corporate or multi-state chains. Independently owned franchises are considered eligible businesses.
-Businesses that were in default conditions prior to February 29, 2020.
-Businesses that primarily generate income from gambling activities, pawned merchandise, adult-oriented or tobacco/vaping related activities.
-Businesses that generate income from passive investments, real estate transactions, property rentals or property managements, billboards.