IMPERIAL COUNTY — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously May 12 to set aside $500,000 for a loan program to aid local for-profit and non-profit businesses struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a county press release.
Funding for the program, titled the Imperial County Business Stabilization Lending Program, will come from existing community and agricultural benefit funds. Those businesses and non-profits will be able to receive up to $10,000 in loan funding.
The loan program has come about as a response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, and as a result of requests for help from the community.
“There have been a lot of lackluster loans in the past” tied to the community and agricultural benefit funds, but “this is a good program,” Imperial County District 1 Supervisor Jesus Escobar said in an interview with this newspaper May 19.
County officials, in approving the program, said they are committed to doing what they can to help local businesses beyond seeking state and federal support. The limit of $10,000 per qualifying applicant was set to try to assist as many businesses as possible.
The program had the full support of the Board of Supervisors, Escobar said.
As part of the program, the county board will create an ad-hoc committee to review applications.
To qualify for the loan, a business must meet the following requirements:
They must be a for-profit or non-profit business in Imperial County
They must be an agriculture, commercial manufacturing, retail or service business
They must have a physical establishment within Imperial County
They must have a current city/county license and be in operation as of Dec. 31, 2019
They must have a demonstrated hardship due to COVID-19
Funds must be used for short-term working capital needs such as lease/mortgage payments, payroll, materials, supplies and services
They must comply with the county’s non-discrimination policy
They can only receive a one-time loan per state business entity
They must be in good standing with cities and/or county
Corporate and personal loan guarantees of applicant at 20 percent
Those businesses already receiving community or agricultural benefit funds and are in good standing with the county are eligible to receive the new loan funding.
Escobar said terms of the loan are its repayable in two years, fully amortized at 2 percent.
The loan will include a forgiveness clause should the business prove it has maintained or hired back its previous workforce.
The application process started May 18. See the county’s website at www.co.imperial.ca.us for applications and additional information on the information and materials that must be included with the application. Applications must be submitted electronically.
For questions on the loan program, contact the County Executive Office at 442-265-1001.