By Cathi Harris, contributor
Decatur, GA — The Decatur Downtown Growth Authority (DDA) board has formally agreed to hitch the town in forgiving the loans made earlier this 12 months to 27 small companies damage by the pandemic-related financial downturn.
In October, the city learned that it might obtain roughly $3 million in federal CARES Act funding to supply help associated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The town allotted $500,000 of the CARES funding to change the small enterprise emergency mortgage program and convert it right into a compensation mortgage program – canceling the loans and forgiving the money owed of the enterprise house owners,” stated Angela Threadgill, the event authority’s govt director. “This decision formalizes the forgiveness and cancellation of these loans.”
In April, the DDA contributed $100,000 of its funds to a joint program with the town to supply emergency monetary help to small companies. The town allotted $400,000. Charitable contributions from completely different Decatur residents added a further $63,400 to the fund.
In accordance with the unique phrases of the loans, compensation was to start solely after the lifting of the emergency orders associated to the pandemic, and companies would have needed to repay the cash inside 36 to 60 months.
Notably, one of many mortgage recipients has indicated that they nonetheless intend to repay the cash within the hope that it may be used to assist different Decatur companies, Threadgill stated.
“The CARES Act funds would reimburse the town and DDA for these funds whereas forgiving the loans of the companies,” she defined. “Nonetheless, one enterprise proprietor stated that that they had achieved unexpectedly effectively throughout the pandemic they usually declined to take part within the compensation program. They’ve indicated that they need to repay the cash and pay it ahead in order that we are able to put the cash into the brand new grant program.”
In October, the town additionally determined that it might use the CARES reimbursement to forgive the excellent loans and nonetheless allocate $400,000 to a brand new small enterprise grant program. At its assembly Friday, the DDA board additionally formally agreed to additionally contribute $100,000 to the brand new program, in addition to any funds wanted to “bridge” the hole between receiving any repayments (such because the enterprise talked about above) to maximise the funds accessible to assist.
“The funds for the grants will must be disbursed earlier than any repayments would have been due,” stated Conor McNally, a DDA board member who additionally serves on the help oversight committee that administers the mortgage and grant packages. “I feel it might be applicable for the DDA to comply with bridge any of these repayments to make sure that they’re used for the supposed goal and we truly pay it ahead. I want to have $525,000 accessible for the grants as an alternative of simply $500,000 if that was [that business owner’s] intent.”
The committee is already reviewing functions for the grant program they usually have already accepted 45 functions for a complete requested funds of about $700,000. In full disclosure, Decaturish has additionally submitted an utility for the brand new spherical of grant funding. A blind lottery course of just like the one used for the mortgage program might be used to pick out which companies obtain the grants, he stated.
The grant quantities will vary from $5,000 as much as $25,000 relying on the variety of full-time staff at every enterprise. To be able to be eligible for a grant, a enterprise have to be within the metropolis of Decatur and have between 1 and 50 full-time equal (FTE) positions.
“We are going to undergo the lottery course of that we used within the mortgage program after which begin giving out the cash till it’s exhausted,” McNally stated. “We are attempting to finalize it by subsequent week.”
As soon as the companies are chosen, they are going to be notified and want to finish some documentation, so disbursing the funds will doubtless take by the tip of the 12 months and into the primary a part of January, he stated.
In different information, the board additionally unanimously handed a decision thanking Board Chair Chris Sciarrone for his 13 years of service to the DDA. Sciarrone was initially appointed in January of 2007 and can go away the board on the finish of the month.
“The town and the DDA thanks on your dedication and work to enhance the constructed atmosphere and the financial growth of our group,” stated Threadgill. “You may be vastly missed.”
A newly appointed member, David Harry, senior vp of multifamily investments at Most well-liked Residence Communities, will be part of the board at its subsequent assembly in January.
In his interviews with the Metropolis Fee, Harry expressed curiosity in engaged on inexpensive housing efforts, Threadgill famous. “Together with his expertise at Most well-liked Residence Communities, he clearly has a ardour for multifamily housing and might be a terrific asset to our board.”
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