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Help for Mecklenburg small businesses will top the agenda today when the Board of County Commissioners holds its first-ever virtual meeting at 6 p.m.

Like most things in Char-Meck, the board has been effectively sidelined since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived here last month.

In addition to hearing a COVID-19 update, the board will consider a plan to offer $5 million in low-Interest loans to qualifying businesses.

Why it Matters: Mecklenburg County is home to nearly 28,000 small businesses – “small” defined as those with fewer than 50 employees. Because of forced closings and loss of revenue, many of those businesses face financial ruin.

As a result, the Mecklenburg Office of Economic Development has seen a “dramatic increase” in the number of calls from small-business owners seeking assistance, according to a county document that lays out the proposal.

Fast cash: Loans to individual businesses would be capped at $35,000, with a goal to distribute funds no more than 10 calendar days after completed applications. The minimum loan amount would be $10,000.

The loans may be used for lease payments, real estate loans, operating capital, payroll, immediate bills or utilities.

Slow repay: Borrowers would have up to 10 years to repay the county loans, which would carry a 3% interest rate. The initial 12 months would require interest-only payments, followed by nine years of principal and interest payments.

Here’s are some examples:

The bottom line: If you want to [virtually] attend today’s meeting, go to the Government Channel, Twitter or online at Or, you may listen in by calling 408-418-9388 and using access code 715 784 086.

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.