Lebanon City Council makes changes to grant to help small businesses in city

It is the city’s decision on where it directs the extra $391,418 in CBDG funds and Mayor Sherry Capello said it plans to partner with the Community First Fund of Lancaster, a non-profit corporation, in making loans available to the small businesses in the city.

Capello said the small business recovery funds from Washington have not found their way to many of  “Mom and Pop” store owners in the city.  She said these businesses are an important part of the city’s economy and provide important services to the people who live and work in the city.

She said the loan application will be easy to file and will have minimal requirements.  The loans will be forgiveness loans, meaning they will not need to be paid off if the business can prove that the funds received were spent to re-start or sustain a business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Capello said it is expected that 1,500 businesses will apply for the loans.

A business with a normal annual revenue of up to $250,000 can apply for a $2,500 loan, from $250,001 to $500,000 a $5,000 loan, and $500,001 to $1 million a $7,500 loan.

Community First Fund will promote the loans and accept applications.  After all applications are received they will be reviewed to see if the total amount of eligible loans will exceed the amount of CDBG funds available.  If the loan requests exceed the amount available the loans will be prioritized based on pre-established criteria. If the business is located in the Central Business District it will likely get a higher priority, if it has received a federal or state loan it will probably get a lower priority.

Mayor Capello said it is hoped applications can begin to be accepted in the second half of June with loans disbursed starting in July.

Council chairperson Wayne Carey said, “I think this is an incredible opportunity for super small businesses in the City of Lebanon.  A lot of them are struggling and we want to give them some financial help because we want them to stay here and continue to do business here.”

The city previously partnered with Community First Fund in developing the Shoppes at Bridges business area at North Ninth Street and Church Street.