Business Improvement Grant

Baytown Business Improvement Grant Program Guidelines

July 2022

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Baytown Business Improvement Grant Program (the "Program") is to enhance the economic vitality of the City of Baytown ("City") by encouraging visually appealing physical improvements to the exteriors and interiors of non-residential commercial structures especially assisting with improving life/safety code related items in traditional retail/commercial corridors of the City. The grant program shall be administered through the City Manager’s office of the City for the Baytown Municipal Development District (“MDD”).

2. Grant Type

Grants provided are reimbursement grants, such grants being a cash match for funds disbursed by an applicant, and are in amounts not to exceed those provided under Section 5 "Type of Grants" below. In-kind contributions or other donated work or materials may not be used by an applicant for matching funds. Only an applicant's cash expenditures may be used as a grant match.

3. Funding

Funding cycles shall be October 1st through September 30th and the amount of funding for each cycle will be determined prior to the commencement of each cycle. Upon depletion of those funds, neither the MDD nor any other entity will have the obligation to fund additional grants. Likewise, neither the MDD nor any other entity shall have the obligation to establish future cycles.

4. Eligibility

  • 4.01 Any new or existing business facility physically located within the City limits in traditional retail/commercial corridors of the City.
  • 4.02 Business facilities also serving as a residence are not eligible unless there is a permanent separation between the Business and Residential i.e. non-residential uses on the ground floor and residential uses on the upper floor(s).
  • 4.03 Business facilities and/or properties which have outstanding financial obligations to the MDD or City, including but not limited to liens, court fines, delinquent City utility bills, or delinquent taxes are not eligible.
  • 4.04 Business facilities and/or property owners which have an ongoing lawsuit with or are in any way parties to litigation against the MDD or City are not eligible.

5. Types of Grant

The following types of grants are available under this Program and shall be reimbursable in an amount of up to 50 percent with a maximum of $40,000:

  • 5.01 Façade Improvement: Improvements to storefronts, including, but not limited to, items such as painting, reconstruction, remodeling and adding awnings
  • 5.02 Sign Improvements: New signs, and renovation or removal of existing signs.
  • 5.03 Property Improvement: Items such as landscaping (if irrigated and maintained or warranted for one year), lighting, fencing, sidewalk, driveway improvements, dumpster enclosures and parking lot improvements.
  • 5.04 Demolition: Demolition of abandoned signs and structures.
  • 5.05 Interior Improvements: The grant will allow life/safety items within a building to be brought up to current codes i.e. electrical, plumbing (not to include installation of grease traps or other plumbing to create a kitchen or expand a kitchen), and other structural issues as directed by the Baytown's Building Services Division. Additionally, the grant will allow for repair or replacement of built in components to the commercial space such as shelving units, wood or tile flooring and door replacement that helps to beautify the space.

6. Guidelines

  • 6.01 Proof of ownership of an existing facility will be required of all applicants. If the applicant is a lessee, the applicant must provide written approval from the property owner to the renovations/improvements being considered.
  • 6.02 Eligible applicants may submit multiple applications during a grant funding cycle. However, an applicant is limited to receiving funding for only one (1) type of grant during a funding cycle. An applicant who receives grant funding must skip one grant funding cycle before applying for an additional grant. No more than two (2) grants for the same property may be awarded in a consecutive five-year period.
  • 6.03 Improvements shall be made in accordance with project drawings, specifications, and/or information provided in the application and approved and permitted by the City. Failure to do so will render the applicant ineligible to receive grant funding. Any modifications must first receive the written approval of the City. Failure to do so will likewise render the Applicant ineligible to receive grant funding.
  • 6.04 Improvements may not have commenced more than ninety days prior to the applicant having entered into a written agreement with the City for the grant.
  • 6.05 Applicant is obligated to obtain all applicable permits and inspections related to the improvement project prior to starting the work. Failure to do so will render the Applicant ineligible for grant funding.
  • 6.06 The improvements, as presented in the application, must be completed in their entirety, unless otherwise approved by the City. Incomplete improvements will render the Applicant ineligible for grant funding.
  • 6.07 Upon approval of a grant application, and during the implementation of the improvements, a representative or representatives of the City shall have the right of access to inspect the work in progress.
  • 6.08 In order to be eligible to receive the grant funding, improvements must be started within two (2) months of receiving all required building permits from the City and must be completed within six (6) months of the funding approval. If the work cannot be started or completed in this timeframe, applicant must notify the MDD, in writing, of the delay, the reasons for the delay and the expected date of completion. The MDD, at its sole discretion, may agree to an additional six (6) month extension of the project.
  • 6.09 All landscaping installed in the scope of the project must be irrigated and maintained or warrantied by the Applicant for minimum of one (1) year from the date of installation. If landscaping is considered as part of the grant request, an underground irrigation system shall be employed and said landscaping shall be irrigated and maintained. Trees, plants, shrubs, or groundcover, as approved in the grant proposal, shall be replaced if they become diseased, damaged, or die. If Applicant does not replace diseased, damaged or dead landscaping materials within the specified timeframe, Applicant will return the grant proceeds attributed to those items to the MDD.
  • 6.10 All applications must contain a cost estimate (bid) from a qualified contractor or supplier.
  • 6.11 Labor provided by the Applicant or his/her employees may not be included in the cost estimate of the project and is not reimbursable through this Program.

7. Application & Approval

  • 7.01 Applications must be made on a form provided by the MDD, and may be obtained in City Hall or on the City website at www.baytown.org.
  • 7.02 Applications will be considered as they are received in order to be considered the following month. All applications are to be submitted to the City of Baytown Community & Economic Development Manager.
  • 7.03 Monthly consideration of applications may be delayed in the event the MDD elects for any reason not to consider grant applications for any particular month.
  • 7.04 One (1) original, signed application must be submitted.
  • 7.05 The MDD reserves the right to utilize whatever outside resources it deems necessary for assistance in its decision-making process.
  • 7.06 Applicants must score a minimum of sixty (60) points on the evaluation guidelines to be eligible for approval.
  • 7.07 Applicants will be notified in writing of the MDD's approval or disapproval of an application.
  • 7.08 The MDD may award an applicant a grant with certain provisions, conditions, or other requirements as it may deem appropriate.
  • 7.09 The MDD reserves the absolute right of discretion in deciding whether or not to approve a grant relative to this application. The applicant accepts that all decisions relating to the award of grant funds involve subjective judgments on the part of the decision-making entity related to the aesthetics of the proposed project and the granting of award funds for said project.
  • 7.10 The MDD reserves the right to waive any requirement(s) herein contained, and/or add any requirements(s) it deems appropriate in making its determination of approval or disapproval of any grant application.

8. Evaluation Criteria Standards

The following factors shall be considered in determining whether or not to award a grant. Grant applications must score a minimum of sixty (60) points to be considered for funding. A score of sixty (60) or more points does not guarantee funding. All funding is contingent on the availability of funding. The evaluation matrix is a guide to assist the MDD in the evaluation process. The applicant does not need to address each criterion in the impact standard to receive the total number of allotted points. The criteria within each impact standard are examples of the types of criteria the MDD may consider:

Possible 50 Points Awarded for: Visual Impact or Life/Safety Code Improvements

  • Improving the attractiveness of the location and the level of blight or deterioration removed; 
  • Level of improvements' impact on the overall appearance of the facility; 
  • Paint color/sign chosen are tasteful and consistent with surrounding businesses; 
  • Paint chips/sign materials/landscaping materials are submitted with application and final project reflects what was submitted and approved; 
  • Productive life of improvements; 
  • Electrical, Plumbing and other structural issues necessary to bring the building to current Codes.

Possible 30 Points Awarded for: Economic Impact

  • Amount of additional funding expended by business; 
  • Appropriateness of business to overall economic development in the surrounding neighborhood; 
  • Traffic level of roadways adjacent to improvement; 
  • Mitigation of health and safety issues; 
  • Reuse of vacant or underutilized property.

Possible 20 Points Awarded for: Community & Historical Impact

  • Level of historical significance of building/area being improved; 
  • Level of value added to the community by the business; 
  • Level of interest/desire for business in the community; 
  • Level of attention to historical architecture (if applicable).

9. Funding

  • 9.01 Funding will only be provided on a reimbursement basis upon the completion of the project in accordance with these guidelines and following an on-site inspection of the improvements and a determination that the improvements are in compliance with the approved application.
  • 9.02 Applicant shall provide the MDD with written notification of project completion. Such notification shall include a letter signed by the applicant stating that all improvements have been completed in accordance with the application and/or approved modifications, and that full payment has been made for all labor and materials involved in the project. Also included in such notification shall be such documents as, but not limited to, an affidavit of all-bills paid for each contractor or subcontractor who performed work on the project, paid receipts for materials and labor, permits, inspection reports, project photographs, or any other items the MDD may reasonably deem necessary for determining the successful completion of the project.
  • 9.03 Upon receipt of a notification of completion, an on-site inspection shall be made by a representative or representatives of the City to confirm completion in accordance with the application and any approved modifications. Such inspection shall not be considered in any way as a reflection of the MDD's approval on the quality, safety, or reliability of the improvements, such being the sole responsibility of the applicant.
  • 9.04 Following the on-site inspection, City staff shall provide a letter to the applicant attesting to (1) compliant project completion, or (2) non-compliant project completion. In the event of a "non-compliant," a letter shall be issued to the applicant stating the area/areas of non-compliance. The project shall be subject to re-inspection to confirm the successful completion of the project. Failure to correct the area/areas of non-compliance within thirty (30) days of the date of the "non-compliant letter" shall be cause for cancellation of the grant.
  • 9.05 In order to receive approval of a reimbursement, all projects must be completed within six (6) months of the grant application approval, unless extended in accordance with Section 6.08.

10. Review Committee

The Business Improvement Grant Review Committee will review and score all applications. The Review Committee will be comprised of a representative of the City Manager’s office, a representative of the City's Economic Development office , a representative of the City's Planning & Development office and a representative from the City's Finance Department.

11. Amendment

The MDD reserves the right to amend these Guidelines and Criteria as it may from time to time find desirable.

12. Termination

The grant will automatically terminate if the project is not completed within six (6) months of MDD’s approval of the grant application, unless extended in accordance with Section 6.08.

13. Notice

  • 13.01 THE PROVISION OR DELIVERY OF THESE GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA TO AN INTERESTED PARTY DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER OF AN IMPROVEMENT GRANT TO THAT PARTY.
  • 13.02 THE ADOPTION OF THESE GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA DOES NOT LIMIT THE DISCRETION OF THE MDD TO DECIDE WHETHER TO PROVIDE OR NOT PROVIDE A GRANT TO AN APPLICANT, WHICH ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF DISCRETION THE MDD RESERVES UNTO ITSELF, WHETHER OR NOT SUCH DISCRETION MAY BE DEEMED ARBITRARY OR WITHOUT BASIS IN FACT.
  • 13.03 THE ADOPTION OF THESE GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA DOES NOT CREATE ANY PROPERTY, CONTRACT, OR OTHER LEGAL RIGHTS IN ANY PERSON TO HAVE THE MDD PROVIDE GRANT FUNDING.
  • 13.04 THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS SHALL GOVERN THE INTERPRETATION, VALIDITY, PERFORMANCE, AND ENFORCEMENT OF THIS BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT GRANT PROGRAM. IF ANY PROVISION OF THIS PROGRAM SHALL BE HELD TO BE INVAILD OR UNENFORCEABLE, THE VALIDITY AND ENFORCEABILITY OF THE REMAINING PROVISIONS OF THIS PROGRAM SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED THEREBY.
  • 13.05 THE MDD, CITY, ITS EMPLOYEES, AND ITS AGENTS, DO NOT ATTEST TO THE QUALITY, SAFETY, OR CONSTRUCTION OF A PROJECT ELIGIBLE FOR, OR RECEIVING GRANT FUNDING. THEREFORE, THE MDD, CITY, ITS EMPLOYEES, AND AGENTS SHALL BE HELD HARMLESS BY THE APPLICANT/APPLICANTS FOR ANY AND ALL DAMAGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE PLANNING, CONSTRUCTION, AND SUBSEQUENT EXISTENCE OF ANY PROJECT WHOSE APPLICATION HAS BEEN APPROVED, OR HAS RECEIVED ACTUAL GRANT FUNDING.