City Will Forgive Loans To Local Businesses

DN-R News Desk     6/24/20
Almost two dozen Harrisonburg businesses that borrowed money from the city to help weather the COVID-19 storm won’t need to pay it back.
City Council voted Tuesday to forgive $105,000 worth of loans distributed among 22 local businesses through the Disaster Impact Loan Program, which was established
on March 19.
Under the program, businesses could borrow up to $5,000 in an interest-free loan, to be paid back beginning July 1.
But Chris Brown, city attorney, said Harrisonburg received money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Michael Parks, the city’s spokesman, said the CARES Act funding totaled $4.6 million, some of which can be used to aid local businesses.
Brown said city staff decided it would be unfair to distribute grants to some businesses and still require the ones that received loans to pay them back, and asked City Council to allow the forgiveness of the $105,000 in loans.
Brown said the item was put on council’s agenda at the last minute because the scheduled repayment date is next week, and staff members want to let the businesses know they don’t need to worry about reimbursing the city.
“Harrisonburg’s small businesses are the heart of the Friendly City,” Parks said in a text message. “Our Economic Development team, and other organizations in our city, have turned over every stone in searching for ways to support these businesses and their employees during these trying times. And we are very grateful to be able to forgive these Disaster Impact Loans, thanks to federal CARES Act funding, as they continue to serve the people of Harrisonburg and keep our city the wonderful, vibrant place it is.”