Friday, October 19, 2012

Blaine County eligible for disaster loans

Businesses affected by fires can apply


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County businesses may be eligible for low-interest loans from the federal Small Business Administration due to a program that helps businesses affected by natural disasters.

Jerry Miller, an economic development specialist with the Idaho Department of Commerce, said the state is working with the Small Business Administration to see if enough Idaho businesses qualify for and would be interested in these loans.

Miller said that even though Blaine County did not experience wildfires on the scale of those in Elmore and Custer counties, adjacent counties are eligible for the loans if the program is approved. He said the Small Business Administration will only approve the program if at least five businesses in the state can show they were impacted by wildfires.

“They do not have to have been on fire or in an evacuation zone,” he added.

All that businesses must do is show that their sales were less this year than last year, likely because of nearby recreation area closures or smoke.

Miller said businesses should fill out an Economic Injury Form, which is available at the Idaho Department of Commerce website, www.commerce.idaho.gov, under the “Community Programs” tab at the top. 

The form consists of one page and asks for business revenues last year and this year, with an explanation of the adverse impacts of the fire on the specific business.

Miller emphasized that the money would be a loan, not a grant. He said the interest rate has not yet been determined, but the last time the Small Business Administration offered the program it was 4 percent.

Miller said the forms must be submitted by the end of the year, and five businesses must apply in order for the state to be eligible for the program.

“Once we get five forms, we submit those to SBA and the SBA will approve the economic injury declaration,” he said.


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 




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