Up to $5,000 for businesses under Keep Islip Thriving

Sam Desmond

Local businesses (fewer than 500 employees) and non-profit organizations in the Town of Islip may be eligible for relief grants (i.e. no reimbursement) from the town up to $5,000 under a new program called Keep Islip Thriving (KIT).

The initiative comes from funds received by the City of Islip through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which was instituted in response to the financial devastation caused by the shutdowns and pandemic mandates.

The KIT, as it is administered by the city, aims to be user-friendly vis-à-vis establishments by not requiring professional assistance to complete the file.

“The ARPA process proved to be too heavy in its paperwork and we wanted to make our relief fund accessible to our community,” said supervisor Angie Carpenter.

The Keep Islip Thriving Fund was opened to business owners and nonprofits about two weeks ago and has already received a number of applications.

The city plans to send letters to businesses and chambers of commerce to spread the word.

“We’re going to be knocking on doors to let people know about this,” Carpenter said.

Currently, $1.5 million has been allocated to Keep Islip Thriving, but the city may authorize more as it determines the response and needs of the Town of Islip community.

In the first wave of ARPA funds, $457 million went directly to Suffolk County. The city of Islip, with approximately 330,000 residents, is the third most populous city in the state, but did not meet the ARPA threshold of 500,000 to receive funds directly.

This second round of ARPA funding will give $47 million over two years in two installments directly to the city. The categories of use have been defined in a complex way.

The application for KIT grants is available online and the completed application can be mailed back to the city.

Requirements for the grant include:

The business must be located in the town of Islip and have a minimum of two (2) years of commercial operating experience.

The company must not have more than five hundred (500) full-time equivalent employees.

The business must demonstrate identifiable financial hardship due to COVID-19. Financial hardship must be documented, quantifiable and clearly motivated by COVID-19.

The business must be in good standing and current on its federal, state and local tax obligations and have no outstanding liens or judgments.

The business must be in good standing with the city and have no outstanding city code violations.

The applicant must self-certify the eligibility requirements and proposed use of funds on the application.

Eligible activities are defined as follows: “Activities eligible for funding must be the direct result of supporting public health and response activities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This includes:

Innovation to promote outdoor activities to protect the health of employees and the public.

Payroll/employee withholding or employee support, including but not limited to COVID-19 related workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance premium increases, paid vacation employees due to the COVID-19 disease.

Purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the health of employees and the public and efforts to clean up the business environment.

Rent or mortgage payments (excluding property tax payments). • Address temporary COVID-19 restrictions on business activities. • Increase technological capacity to enable alternative forms of work.

Creation of new marketing campaigns or business plans. • Pay supplier invoices. • Cleaning/restoration of installations.

Costs associated with additional training or virtual learning to implement COVID19 safety measures.

Expenses necessary to plan a safe reopening such as expertise and/or to conduct research or market studies.

The four-page application includes a full page for a story to submit explaining the financial impacts of COVID on the business.

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