A plan to assist Mecklenburg small businesses hurt by COVID-19

County commissioners will vote on a plan that would set aside $5 million in taxpayer dollars to make low-interest loans to companies with fewer than 50 employees.
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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.

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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 https://mecklenburg.ravnur.com. Or, you may listen in by calling 408-418-9388 and using access code 715 784 086.