Overview

The City of Ontario (“City”) established the Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (“CDBG-CV”) Business Utility Assistance Program for eligible businesses with documented coronavirus (“COVID-19”) related financial hardships that have deferred utility payments for utility bills dated after March 14, 2020, the commencement date of the City of Ontario’s local state of emergency. This program was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Purpose

To reduce the effect of the financial hardships suffered by qualified business owners that have lost income as a result of COVID-19 and need short-term utility assistance. 
 

Application

Applications open on Monday, April 5, 2021 and are on a first come first serve basis. Click here to Apply for the Business Utility Assistance Program.
 

Eligibility

All the requirements below must be met for a business to be able to participate in the program:

  • Eligibility is limited to businesses with a current City Business License and permits to operate in the City.
  • Businesses must be independently owned and operated with a physical storefront in the City.
  • Businesses must employ at least one low-to-moderate income qualifying employee.  A low-to-moderate income employee is someone whose total annual income is 80% or less of the Area Median Income (“AMI”).  See chart below for maximum income limits: 
FY 2019 Income Limits*
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA
80% of AMI ($) Persons in Family
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
40,250 46,000 51,750 57,450 62,050 66,650 71,250 75,850
*Income limits are subject to change annually
  • Private for-profit businesses must employ fewer than 20 employees, including the owners of the business.
  • Businesses must have an annual gross revenue below $500,000.
  • Only existing businesses in the City prior to January 30, 2020 are eligible.
  • Businesses must provide proof of COVID-19 related financial hardship. This can be in the form of profit and loss statements. 

For all inquiries regarding business eligibility, please contact the Economic Development Department at (909) 395-2005 during regular business hours. 
 

Procedures for CDBG-CV Business Utility Assistance Program

  • A completed application and all supporting documents necessary to determine eligibility must be submitted to City staff for review.
  • Supporting documents include the following:
    • Copy of current City Business License and relevant permits; and
    • Copy of current Form W-9 
    • Documentation to provide evidence of loss of business income (this could include profit and loss statements dated on or after March 14, 2020, which is the date of the City’s Emergency Declaration related to COVID-19);
    • Documentation regarding utility deferment with a statement of balance due.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a first-completed, first-served basis.
  • Payments will be provided directly to utility companies for completed applications that have been determined to be eligible for assistance by the City.  Any outstanding balance to the Ontario Municipal Utilities Company will be paid first and any remainder applied to additional utilities.
     

Benefits

The CDBG-CV Business Utility Assistance Program is a one-time assistance program.

  • Eligible businesses will receive a maximum benefit of $5,000* to be applied towards qualifying deferred utility payments.
    *The business will receive a Form 1099 for any benefit received over $600.
     

Reporting

The City will maintain the following demographic and statistical information for each business served by the CDBG-CV Business Utility Assistance Program:

  • Demographics of business owners, including gender, age, ethnicity, race, veteran or disability status (including any business certifications);
  • Number of low-and-moderate income persons employed; and
  • Narratives of significant accomplishments achieved by the program. 
     

Record Keeping

  • The City shall maintain adequate records of services and payments to businesses served by this program in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with the policies and procedures of the program. These records shall be retained for at least five (5) years. 
  • Financial and business records will be treated as confidential; however, the information may be provided to another city, state, or federal agency, if required.
     

Definitions 

Business is defined as a business in the City operating with required City licenses and permits.​

 

Utility or Utilities is defined as any business utility that is deemed essential. This assistance is limited to electricity, gas, sewer, telecommunication services, trash, and water.