We understand the concern and uncertainty many people and businesses are feeling regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As your locally-owned, not-for-profit utility, we want to assure you that Waupun Utilities is here to serve you.
We recognize this is a challenging time for many local businesses, and some may be struggling to keep up with utility payments. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us at (920) 324-7920. We also wanted to share with you a summary of the Paycheck Protection Program that was recently included in the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which also provides loans to help cover business operating costs including utility bills.
Although it is not our place to provide financial or legal advice, please speak to your trusted accountant and attorney for that, we thought this might be useful information for you to have.
Section 1102 of the CARES Act authorizes the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion loan program to small business (fewer than 500 employees), 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, 501(c)(19) veterans' organization, or tribal businesses. Loan funds used toward eligible expenditures are eligible for forgiveness under specific guidelines included in the CARES Act. This program is designed to help small businesses cover operating expenses, including utilities, during the COVID-19 pandemic and to incentivize employers to retain employees. As many businesses have laid off workers as a response to the pandemic, the program can be retroactive, with the covered loan period running from Feb. 15 to June 30, 2020, allowing previously laid off or furloughed employees to be returned to payrolls.
The program removes the onerous “credit elsewhere test” typically needed to qualify for an SBA loan and requires no collateral or personal guarantee. The maximum loan eligible under the program is the lesser of 2.5 months payroll or $10 million. No salaries in excess of $100,000 or qualified sick or family leave wages (eligible for a tax credit) should be factored into the loan amount calculation.
The loan can be used for the following purposes:
- Employee salary or wages, cash tips, or equivalent payments
- Mortgage, rent, and utility payments
- Vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave payments (excluding those for which a tax credit is allowed under Section 7001 or 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act)
- Payment for group healthcare benefits, including insurance premiums
- Payment of retirement benefits
- Payment of state or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees
- Interest on debt obligations previous to Feb. 15, 2020
Loan recipients can be eligible for full forgiveness for an amount equal to the total amount paid for the following expenses over eight weeks starting with the loan’s origination date, but not more than the loan’s principal amount:
- Eligible payroll costs
- Mortgage interest, rent and utility payments provided that the mortgage, lease or utility services were in place prior to February 15, 2020.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is authorizing banks and other commercial lenders currently authorized to make SBA loans to rapidly adopt this program and anticipates having numerous lenders in place by early April.
Additional resources you may find helpful:
- City of Waupun Economic Development
- CARES Act Small Business Guide and Checklist– U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Business – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- SBA Updated Information on the Paycheck Protection Program
- WMC CARES Act Summary
Waupun Utilities has been providing safe, reliable, local service for more than 125 years. We are all in this together as a community, and our commitment to you remains unchanged.