Low interest loans set for MC businesses

FONDA — Montgomery County launched a business reopening loan fund aimed to help assist local businesses in reopening while following COVID-19 regulations which has been costly.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and the County Legislature have launched a $240,000 COVID-19 Pandemic Loan Program to help businesses that are facing a financial burden because of state-imposed regulations associated with the pandemic.

According to a press release, this new program will offer Montgomery County businesses the chance to access low-interest loans to help cover up to $10,000 in costs directly associated with the state’s New York Forward reopening guidelines. Funding for the initiative will be mae available through the country’s Revolving Loan Fund.

“Our businesses are working hard to reopen in a responsible fashion, and we’ve seen that in the continued positive feedback from state and local health officials,” Ossenfort said. “COVID-19 has created major hurdles for our businesses. Whether it’s limited capacity for restaurants, costly HVAC modifications for gyms, or simply having PPE on hand for staff, every business has had to adapt and overcome. This new COVID-19 Relief Fund is another way we can help businesses keep their doors open.”

Although gyms have been given the green light to open, Ossenfort said Planet Fitness in Amsterdam and Alpin Haus still have yet to open due to complications with getting HVAC modifications.

“I commend our legislators for working together to find another way we can help our local businesses survive this unprecedented economic climate,” Ossenfort said. “We all want to do everything we can to make it easier on our businesses and this new COVID-19 Pandemic Loan Program is a use of available resources that will make a real difference and won’t come at a cost to taxpayers.”

Administered by the Montgomery County Business Development Center, the loan program will provide businesses with a 1 percent interest short term loan of up to $10,000. Loans will be deferred for up to six months, and the loan period will not exceed two years. Application forms are available at https://montgomerycountyworks.com/files/COVID-19-Loan-Application.pdf; and completed applications should be emailed to the Montgomery County Business Development Center CFO Sheila Snell at [email protected]

“This new loan program is a great way to use existing dollars to help our business community navigate this challenging time and come back stronger. The NY Forward reopening guidelines have left many of our businesses needing his extra assistance if they’re going to survive,” said Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose.

The resolution to launch the loan fund was passed by legislators at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

According to the resolution passed on Tuesday, “borrowers will have to demonstrate that their purchase or upgrade is associated to the business safety plan for their specific industry as outlined per New York State re-opening regulations.”

“The Legislature and the County Executive have worked hard to make sure we create a business-friendly community that encourages people to invest and build a future in Montgomery County,” said Chairman of the Legislature Joseph M. Isabel. “We want that to continue as we continue to navigate the global health pandemic, and beyond. This new relief fund will help ensure more people are able to stay on the job and more businesses can keep their doors open.”

“We’re lucky to have a strong, vibrant economy in Montgomery County and we want to make sure we keep that going,” said District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell. “Our local business community has always given back to those in need and now it’s our chance to do the same. I strongly encourage our businesses who need support to apply for funding.”

Montgomery County has continued to support local businesses through initiatives including Small Business of the Month to promote local small businesses, and the “Buy It In Montgomery” campaign to encourage residents and visitors to shop local.

“We see positive impact,” Ossenfort said.

He said sales tax has also remained up and they are $300,000 more than where they were last year.

“But we’ve made it a point to show support for our local businesses whether it’s a gym or restaurant,” Ossenfort said.

He said trying to keep their doors open is going to be costly.

“We’re going to do everything we can to help,” he added.

By Patricia Older