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Calexico City Council Approves Lending Program for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Photo of Miguel Figueroa, Calexico City Manager, at Calexico City Council Meeting Live Transmission.

-Editorial

In an effort to support local businesses get back on their feet and support low-income people pay their utility bills, the Calexico City Council approved a series of items at their Sept. 16 meeting to support those that have been affected by COVID-19 the most.

Small businesses have faced many challenges in response to COVID-19 and the negative impacts that shutdowns had on their employees and owners. The city of Calexico wants to help the small business community by providing direct loans. A COVID-19 Business Stabilization Lending Program in Calexico will help mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on the small business community.

“The business community of Calexico is different from other cities in the county and the approach of this program is to focus on the small businesses that have been severely impacted since the month of March,” City Manager Miguel Figueroa told the council. “This program was put together with the vision that we work hand in hand with our business community where they see the opportunity to see this is a forgivable loan program. They need to show they maintained the staffing levels since March and if they let some staff members go and then rehired some of these individuals.”

The city of Calexico has $150,000 committed to funding the COVID-19 Business Stabilization Lending Program that comes from the CARES Act. Both for-profit businesses and non-profit corporations located within the city are eligible to apply for a loan of up to $7,500. All applicants must have a valid City business license.

Funds may be used to cover short-term working capital needs, such as payroll costs, rent, routine real estate, and equipment financing payments, utilities, or losses due to destabilizing events.

The applicant would be eligible for a forgiveness clause should the entity prove that it has maintained or hired back the previous workforce. The city of Calexico determines the total amount of employees of a business on a full-time employee basis. A full-time employee is one who works 40 hours per week.  The applications will be reviewed by the finance department and the city manager’s office and a decision will be made within five business days of receiving the application. The funding is anticipated to be released within two weeks of approval.

                                                           Utility Service Support Payment

In other news, the council also approved the guidelines for the subsistence payment options that intend to provide short-term emergency assistance to individuals that lost their jobs or were reduced work hours in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants must be low-income residents of the Calexico. Low-income individuals/households may qualify for utility payments assistance by providing adequate documentation of termination of employment.

Utility assistance will be provided in the form of short-term payments to the corresponding utility entity. Participants must provide the original bill from the utility company. No cash or checks are to be given directly to participants.

Assistance will be provided for up to 90 days to eligible participants who meet the program eligibility criteria and the income limit for the programs.

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