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Imperial County Moves Forward to Help Local Businesses Affected by COVID-19

-Editorial

The County of Imperial will have loans available for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 during these months of the quarantine.

In response to the local economic impact of the current health crisis, a request to the Executive Office staff to draft an Imperial County Business Stabilization Lending Program was made by the Board of Supervisors. The County of Imperial understands the difficulties faced by local businesses in response to COVID-19. The County would assist to stabilize local businesses by providing loans in addition to other Federal and State funds are available.

The funds would be generated through the County’s Community and Agriculture Benefit Programs in the total amount of $500,000.

The Community Benefit and Agricultural Programs are part of the Public Benefits Program for use with Solar Plants in Imperial County, which was established by the county on January 24, 2012. All utility-scale solar projects built in Imperial County since that time have entered into this program. The county receives funds from the solar projects located in the unincorporated areas of the county. The Board of Supervisors has identified goals and objectives in order to maximize the benefits of these funds. Such benefits might include, but not limited to, infrastructure improvements, job creation, economic development, and enhancement to the quality in the neighboring communities.

The funds will be distributed to qualifying small businesses and micro-businesses that have been affected in recent weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The County has committed $500,000 for this fund. The business must have experienced an economic impact due to COVID-19. For-profit and non-profit businesses located in Imperial County can apply for a loan of up to $10,000. Funds are available to businesses within the region of Imperial County which includes the cities and the unincorporated areas. Funds may be used to cover short-term working capital needs, such as payroll costs, rent, routine real state, and equipment financing payments, utilities, or losses due to destabilizing events. The loan will be available with up to 2-year terms at an interest rate of up to 2 percent. Applicants will be eligible for loans in the amount of up to $10,000 on the first-come, first-served basis and available until exhausted.

The applicant would be eligible for forgiveness should the entity prove that it has maintained or hired back the previous workforce. The forgiveness clause would be triggered by the decrease in before and after the employment numbers with a 20 percent decrease in the forgiveness amount per one full-time equivalent lost.

The county will be an active partner with Sun Community Federal Credit Union by playing a role through all phases of the application and loan process. Additional detail regarding program guidelines, loan terms, and links to the online application will be available on www.co.imperial.ca.us on Monday, May 18, 2020.

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