The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved the DeKalb Better Business Loan Program, a partnership with local banks to provide financial relief to small DeKalb County businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will be funded using $15 million from the county’s allotment of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.

The loan program was developed by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s administration, in cooperation with the Small Business Subcommittee of the DeKalb COVID-19 Strategic Task Force, chaired by Steve Bradshaw, presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners.

“We are fighting a pandemic that undermines the health and economic well-being of our county,” Thurmond said. “Small businesses have been hit hard and are critical to DeKalb’s economic growth and prosperity.”

Citizens Trust Bank has been selected to administer and service $10 million of the loan proceeds. Small business owners can apply online for up to $40,000 in business loans beginning Aug. 27, through Sept. 7.

“We gathered insights and information to better understand the most pressing needs of this vital sector of our small business owners,” Commissioner Bradshaw said. “We view a small business loan program for DeKalb as an integral resource in supporting not only small businesses, but the DeKalb community at large.”

Approved loan applicants may use the proceeds for any pre-approved combination of the following eligible expenses:

♦ Payroll (gross federal wages)

♦ State unemployment taxes and local taxes

♦ Employee benefits

♦ Business mortgage interest

♦ Business property rent payments

♦ Commercial property utilities

♦ Interest on other business debts

DeKalb’s Better Business Loan program includes a technical support component that will help sustain and support small business ownership in the county. Participants will have access to key DeKalb business organizations, community improvement districts and advocacy organizations including Decide DeKalb and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Additional benefits include business certifications and training for the loan forgiveness portion of the program.

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