Chamber News
January 2021
2020 Year in Review
Looking back, 2020 definitely was not the year any of us could have anticipated. Despite the pandemic, our chamber was still able to accomplish a lot. We continued to see membership retention rates over 90% for the 16th consecutive year. We saw growth with 20 new members, bringing us to 343 members. Also, we held 7 ribbon cuttings for newly opened businesses.

We were able to hold our Annual Business & Industry Forecast Breakfast in March, just barely in time before the entire State was shut down and we worked from home. We quickly implemented a gift card giveaway with local chamber member businesses, giving away 72 gift certificates in over a month.

We collaborated with the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce, the Crawford Partnership, the Galion City Health Department, the Ohio Chamber, and the U.S. Chamber to hold webinars and bring important CARES Act information and Responsible Restart Ohio updates to our members.

We were not able to hold our annual meeting in May, nor were we able to continue with Third Fridays in Galion. However, we were able to hold “SHOP HOPS” in both Galion and Crestline and helped to bring much needed visibility and awareness to our local small businesses in June, July, August, and September.

Working closely with the local health departments, we held our 18th Annual McDonald’s/Chamber Golf Outing in August. With scheduled tee times every 10 minutes, we hosted 23 teams at Valley View Golf Course and were able to raise $2,873 for Ronald McDonald House Charities, which brings our 18-year total to $33,374 donated. Thank you!

Our Annual Manufacturers Breakfast in October was canceled but we were able to honor our local manufacturers and presented two “Service in Manufacturing Awards” to Steve Ditty from Carter Machine and Chris Robinette from Tramec Sloan.

In November, we collaborated with the Bucyrus Area Chamber and First Federal Community Bank to play “Crawford-opoly” with 50 chamber member businesses in Crawford County. Almost 800 property cards were collected, and Mary Clark was our grand prize winner of the $1000 Community Shopping Spree. This fun event had amazing community feedback from participating businesses and community members, and we plan to hold it again in 2021.

A member favorite, our Holiday Open House and Auction in December went virtual this year. We were not sure what to expect but had amazing participation and we cannot thank our members enough for their kindness and generous donations and sponsorships for the auction.

Most recently, we worked alongside the Bucyrus Chamber as our chambers undertook the daunting task of acting as fiscal administrator for CARES Act Small Business Relief Grants to local businesses across the county. With less than a month to accomplish the task, we worked diligently to establish an application process, advertise the available grants, form an allocations decision committee, and distributed $800,000 dollars in grant funds to 177 local small businesses.

I want to take the time to say, “thank you”, to my fellow chamber employees, chamber board of directors, chamber ambassadors, the entire chamber membership and the many volunteers that help make the chamber the asset that it is to the “business community”.

A special “thank you” to all the elected officials, city, county and village employees, our health departments, the Bucyrus Area Chamber, and the Crawford County Partnership Team for their continued hard work throughout the year and collaboration on many projects during these difficult times.

I would be remiss if I did not thank past CEO/President Joe Kleinknecht for his 18 years of service to our chamber and our community. Joe is a great mentor and will continue on as a chamber ambassador. We were disappointed that his retirement party was canceled, but we plan to celebrate his tenure will all our members as soon as we can gather together as a large group again.

I am looking forward to working with all of you in 2021 to see continued growth in the Galion and Crestline areas, as well as all of Crawford County.

Thank You,

Miranda Jones
Executive Director
NEW CHAMBER MEMBER

Vulcan Products, 208 S. Washington Street, Galion, 419-468-1039- Machine Shop

2021 Membership Renewal
Statements Due January 31st

***Remember we now accept credit card payments and PayPal.

If you have any questions, please call Miranda or Candy at the Chamber office at 419-468-7737.

Thank you for your continued support of the Chamber!
Mask Up & Social Distance, Crawford County!
Local faces and places in Crawford County share in the message in this video that the time is now to do your part to support our local businesses by masking up and social distancing.
Bar & Restaurant Fund Deadline Extended
The deadline to apply for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund has been extended to January 31.

There are approximately 15,400 on-premises liquor permits in the state eligible for assistance. Of that, roughly 10,854 or 70 percent have taken advantage of this funding opportunity as of today.
 
Governor DeWine designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and each active on-premises liquor permit is eligible for funding. 
 
While the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible permits. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding.

Eligible businesses can visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply, which requires them to simply enter their liquor permit number and federal tax information.
New Round of the Paycheck Protection Program
Congress put aside $284 billion more for the Paycheck Protection Program in a bill signed into law Dec. 27, and added a few new things to the second phase of the loan program intended to help small businesses shuttered or still struggling from the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.

Businesses are encouraged to start preparing their information now even as they wait for the updated application form. Guidance on how to apply under the now altered requirements and what those requirements are are expected soon from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department.

The bill provides additional loan relief for restaurants, allows businesses to deduct from their taxes expenses they paid with the loans, caps the size of businesses that could seek the relief, and simplifies the loan forgiveness process among with other measures. Businesses that have already received PPP funding may also be eligible to apply again.

Borrowers of a PPP second draw loan may be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the sum of their payroll costs, as well as covered mortgage, rent, and utility payments, covered operations expenditures, covered property damage costs, covered supplier costs, and covered worker protection expenditures incurred during the covered period. Borrowers are still required to use at least 60% of PPP loan proceeds on eligible payroll costs in order to receive full forgiveness.
The application form and guidance could be available as soon as this week, and loan applications could start rolling out the second week of January as what’s known as PPP2 goes live. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Employee Retention Tax Credit-
Enhanced and Extended
The following is a breakdown of the changes to the new law signed on December 27th and the differences from the original package for the Employee Retention Tax Credit. The credit initially provided a 50% tax credit, which is refundable, for companies that continued paying their employees- even though the business may have been closed due to a COVID-19 lockdown, or suffering a significant decline in gross receipts due to loss of business.

Original Law: For qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021.
New Law: For qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before July 1, 2021, extending availability of the credit to the first two quarters of 2021.

Original Law: 50% of the qualified wages paid to the employee, plus the cost to continue providing health benefits to the employee.
New Law: Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the credit amount is increased to 70% of qualified wages, which is amended to include the cost to continue providing health benefits.

Original Law: The credit was capped at $5,000 for all qualified wages paid during 2020 (the credit for $10,000 in qualified wages X 50% tax credit rate).
New Law: Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the credit cap is increased to $7,000 for each of the first two quarters of 2021 ($10,000 in qualified wages X 70% tax credit rate), so that the maximum credit for 2021 will be $14,000. This aggregate $14,000 per employee maximum credit for the first two quarters of 2021 is available even if the employer received the $5,000 maximum credit for wages paid to such employee in 2020.

Original Law: Business operations that are either fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 lockdown order; or, for any quarter in 2020, if gross receipts are less than 50% of gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019.
New Law: Effective Jan. 1, 2021, business operations that are either fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 lockdown order, or for a quarter in 2021, if gross receipts are less than 80% of gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019. Many additional businesses will be eligible for this credit due to the lowering of the bar on reduction in gross receipts (from a 50% reduction in gross receipts to a 20% reduction) compared to the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic.

Original Law: For a company with more than 100 employees, no credit was available for wages paid to an employee performing services for the employer (either teleworking, or working at the workplace, even though at reduced capacity due to reduction in business). Conversely, a company with 100 employees or less was eligible for the credit, even if the employee was working.
New Law: Effective Jan. 1, 2021, this threshold will be raised to 500 employees, so that for the first two quarters of 2021, a company with 500 or fewer employees will be eligible for the credit, even if employees are working. Note that in calculating this 500-employee threshold, the employees of all affiliated companies sharing more the 50% common ownership are aggregated.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report for the Village of Crestline
The input of Crestline residents is greatly appreciated!!

A Special group of people made up of Village officials, Councilmen, business owners, Non-profit agencies and School officials developed a draft of the Village of Crestline’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and is seeking public input on the report. The link below will allow you to access the report and submit your input through a public comment form. The public comment form, being administered by the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), will help ensure the CEDS meets the expectations of Crestline’s community members. Your responses will be completely anonymous. The public comment period will end on January 10, 2021. Click this link to leave comments: https://bgsu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eF1EW2oF6yrBIcl

Linda Horning Pitt
Mayor
Next Round of TechCred Now Open
The seventh round of TechCred – a program that helps businesses upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused credentials – is now open until January 29.
 
Ohio businesses can receive up to $2,000 for each tech-focused credential earned, up to $30,000 per employer each application period. Since the program’s start, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.
 
To learn more and apply, businesses can visit TechCred.Ohio.gov.

CareWorks MCO Now Sedgwick Managed Care Ohio-CareWorks of Ohio, Ltd. (CareWorks MCO), merged with CompManagement Health Systems, Inc. (CompManagement MCO) on Monday, December 21, 2020. This merger has created a name change to Sedgwick Managed Care Ohio (Sedgwick MCO).

For additional information, we invite you to visit SedgwickMCO.com.
First Federal Community Bank - Brad Murtiff, President and CEO of First Federal Community Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Dawn Ratliff as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Community Investors Bancorp, Inc. and First Federal Community Bank. Ms. Ratliff is President of ADM Benefit Plans Agency, Inc. in Bucyrus. A board member since 2010 and recent Vice Chairman, Ratliff offers strong financial, organizational, and leadership skills to the Board.
Welcome to the business community, Best Little Hair House in Crestline! Carolyn's Salon in Crestline changed hands and names, but not location. It is now owned by Jolene Shawber and Crista Kitchin.
City of Galion- Kara Ault was sworn-in as the newest member of the council on Dec. 23 by Galion Law Director Thomas Palmer and received encouragement and congratulations from Mayor Tom O’Leary and several city officials. Congratulations, Kara!
Park National Bank- Please join us in congratulating Mikayla Johnson as the new branch manager of Galion's Park National Bank office. Mikayla has been with their organization for almost five years and was previously the Senior Teller.
Do you have an anniversary, new associate or employee, sign, or business update? Contact Miranda or Candy at the Chamber Office, 419-468-7737 or email candy@galion-crestlinechamber.org so we can add your business to the Member Spotlight in our next Newsletter.
January 2021 BWC News
from CareWorks Comp

Deadline Approaching: Group Retrospective Enrollment for Upcoming July 1, 2021 Policy Year
The deadline to enroll in Group Retrospective Rating with CareWorks Comp for the upcoming July 1, 2021 policy year is January 22, 2021. Group Retro is a performance-based program where the group’s claims, incurred for the policy year, are compared to the group’s premiums paid to the BWC. The participants will receive premium rebates as long as the claims incurred for that policy year are lower than the overall premiums paid to the BWC.  For more information, call CareWorks Comp TPA at 1.800.837.3200.

BWC Board Approves $5 Billion Workers' Compensation Dividend
Yes, those checks you got in the mail from the BWC were real! The BWC Board of Directors approved Governor Mike DeWine’s $5 billion dividend proposal on November 2, 2020. This is the largest BWC dividend in state history and DeWine hopes it will serve as a lifeline to businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. The dividend will be the third this year, following a $1.54 billion dividend issued in April and a $1.34 billion dividend in October.

Checks were distributed to employers covered by BWC in mid-December. Gov. DeWine said that the BWC "remains in a strong fiscal position thanks largely to healthy investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year and prudent fiscal management." After the dividend is paid out, the BWC will have an approximate net position – assets minus liabilities – of $7.2 billion. 

2020 Policy Year Estimated Payroll was Reduced by 20%
Were you aware? Your July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 Policy Year Estimated Payroll was REDUCED by the Ohio BWC by 20% in response to payrolls possibly being lower as a result of COVID-19! Employers can call the BWC at 1.800.644.6292 and adjust their 2020 Policy Year Payroll as needed up until March 1, 2021. This will ensure a more manageable True Up in the summer of 2021.  
Safety Congress Registration Now Open 

Registration is now open for the 2021 Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC21)! Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, OSC21 will be a completely online event, including our first-ever digital expo.

Visit the OSC21 website for more information and to register for the event, which will stream live March 10-11, 2021. Now in its 91st year, the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo is the largest and longest-running regional occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation conference in the U.S.

The emergence of COVID-19 in Ohio last spring, forced the cancelation of our in-person event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, but our first-ever virtual safety congress went on as scheduled. More than 2,600 representatives from Ohio businesses and government attended the event to discover the strategies and tools needed for a healthy, safe, and productive workforce. We’ll see you online for OSC21!
If you live or work in Crawford County, applications are now being accepted for CU Lead, Crawford Partnership’s premier, experiential leadership development program for leaders at all levels.   

To learn more or apply:

For more information, call the Crawford Partnership at 419.563.1809 or email Erin Stine, CU Lead facilitator, at erins@crawfordpartnership.org.  
Ohio Business Tax Conference Goes Virtual
One of the biggest tax conferences in the nation is back, and this time, it’s digital. The Manufacturers’ Education Council’s 30th Annual Business Tax Conference and Virtual Institute is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 19-21, 2021. Over its history, it has been attended by over 16,000 corporate tax directors, CFOs and tax professionals. The conference offers attendees the chance to earn continuing education credits while learning from top leaders in the tax industry. For more information and to register, click here.
When you donate to United Way of North Central Ohio serving Marion, Crawford, & Wyandot, your gift funds more than 40 partners working to provide safety net services and emergency relief to neighbors and friends in our community. United Way is the one place your donation can impact EVERY member of the community. It's the best way to help the most people. Visit https://unitedwaynco.org/give/ to help now.
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