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DeKalb County establishes $15 million loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19

Business COVID-19 Decatur Metro ATL

DeKalb County establishes $15 million loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: A long time street corner vendor in unincorporated DeKalb County shifted his focus from selling t-shirts to masks, gloves and sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — DeKalb County will begin offering loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DeKalb County Commission approved the DeKalb Better Business Loan Program on Aug. 11.

“The program will be funded using $15 million from the county’s allotment of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding,” a press release from the county says. “The loan program was developed by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s administration, in cooperation with the Small Business Subcommittee of the DeKalb COVID-19 Strategic Task Force, chaired by Steve Bradshaw, presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners.”

The county selected Citizens Trust Bank to administer $10 million of the loans. Small business owners can apply for up to $40,000 in loans beginning Aug. 27 through Sept. 7, 2020.

Loan applicants can use the money for the following expenses if their loans are approved:

·         Payroll (gross federal wages)

·         State unemployment taxes and local taxes

·         Employee benefits

·         Business mortgage interest

·         Business property rent payments

·         Commercial property utilities

·         Interest on other business debts

The county did not provide other details about the program, like the interest rate for the loan or the repayment terms. The county will provide additional information at this link: www.dekalbcountyga.gov/COVID19loan

“DeKalb’s Better Business Loan program includes a technical support component that will help sustain and support small business ownership in the county,” a press release from the county says. “Participants will have access to key DeKalb business organizations, community improvement districts and advocacy organizations including Decide DeKalb and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Additional benefits include business certifications and training for the loan forgiveness portion of the program.”

The city of Decatur established a small business loan program and made $550,000 available to small businesses. The program was able to issue no-interest loans to 27 city businesses, totaling $549,000 of the $550,000 available.

In total, 45 businesses submitted applications to the program that met all criteria for approval, with total requests for funding coming in just above $800,000. Because there were more requests for funding than funds available, the oversight committee for the city of Decatur’s small business loan program decided to use a blind lottery to decide who would receive the loans.

Writer Cathi Harris contributed to this story. 

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