ELIZABETHTOWN - Empire State Development announced last week that it has approved the Essex County Industrial Development Agency to redirect $250,000 of unused Champlain Bridge closure assistance funds to create the Hurricane Irene Recovery Community Revolving Loan Fund.
The loan fund will assist businesses located in Essex County that incurred additional costs and experienced economic losses as a result of the Aug. 28 storm. The revolving loan fund will be administered by the Essex County IDA. As loans are repaid, funds will stay in the community for future business investment and growth.
"Hurricane Irene had a devastating impact on the North County's economy," ESD President and CEO Kenneth Adams said in a press release. "Under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo, we are working hard to ensure that local businesses devastated by Hurricane Irene are provided with the resources they need for a full recovery."
The program will provide assistance in the form of loans for the purchase of machinery and equipment, working capital and lines of credit secured with personal guarantee. Eligible borrowers include businesses or nonprofit organizations that have been independently owned and operated with 100 employees or less, have been in business since June 1, 2011, and are New York state taxpayers.
Loan program funds may be used for justifiable business expenses directly related to Irene's impact. That includes: the purchase of machinery and equipment; current assets, including inventory and receivables; permanent working capital; lines of credit; and refinancing of existing collateralized debt where such refinancing is a required element of the project financing.
Essex County IDA Chairman Darren Darrah said IDA staff has been working closely with distressed businesses, communities, and local and state agencies since day one of the Irene crisis.
"We are eager to start working with the local businesses that have been affected by Hurricane Irene," he said. "The Essex County IDA appreciates Gov. Cuomo's dedication to ensuring our businesses attain sustainable recovery. We thank Empire State Development for their assistance in program funding - the consideration to allow these monies to remain in the county for future reinvestment will be critical to further local economic development efforts in Essex County."
Carol Calabrese, co-executive director of the Essex County IDA, said the loan program will be responsive to the significant economic hardship caused by Irene.
"Taking into consideration the economic burden that Hurricane Irene has caused local businesses, there will be repayment of the principal only, no interest payment," she said. "This is another viable resource available for small businesses located in Essex County, to help get them back on their feet."
The maximum amount of loan program financing may not exceed the ratio of $25,000 for each business loan request for working capital and/or lines of credit and a maximum of $25,000 for equipment. The business loans will have a zero percent interest rate and will offer a six month moratorium on principal payments from the date of the loan closing.
For more information on the Hurricane Irene Recovery Community Revolving Loan Fund, call 518-873-9114 or go to www.essexcountyida.com.