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Economic Development Update

COVID-19 impact and small business impact

In response to the COVID-19 virus and its impact on national and local economies as well as small business, several resources have been made available for business owners to reduce strain.

The City of Tehachapi held a special City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 18 on the steps of City Hall where, at the suggestion of the Economic Development Department, the City Council authorized a temporary program to defer utility payments for small businesses in the City of Tehachapi.

The temporary policy adopted unanimously by the Council includes the following:

• An opt-in program to defer utility payments (water, sewer, trash) for the usage in the months of March and April 2020. Each account shall be paid by the business with the balance of the account spread over the billing period for the next six months (May-October). This will allow the amount due to be paid when business resumes to normal levels.

• The program will be available to small businesses consistent with the United States Small Business Administrations’ size standards.

• Following the two-month deferment period, this program may be extended to certain businesses on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the City Manager.

Additionally, all utility accounts in the City of Tehachapi will benefit from the suspension of late fees for the next two months and all water shutoffs will be suspended until May 31, 2020. The intent is to allow for more leniency in payments for all accounts and those who are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy.

Businesses can opt-in to the deferred payment plan by emailing Hillorie Thomas at [email protected] or by calling (661) 822-2200 ext. 107.

Federal Assistance

At the direction of President Donald Trump, the Small Business Administration has announced loans of up to $2 million for small businesses impacted by Coronavirus. According to the SBA, the agency will work with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have severely been impacted by the situation.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

• Approved California state emergency declaration for small businesses;

• This action was required to authorize disasters loans in the state; and

• Applies to all 58 counties in California.

• Streamlining SBA process so applications can be approved more quickly;

• Can loan up to $2 million for a small business.

• 3.75 percent interest rate for businesses,

• 2.75 percent interest rate for non-profits; and

• Loans are 30 year loans.

To apply, go online to: http://www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Here is the process for accessing SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending:

• The Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

• Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

• SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.

• Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.

• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

• These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent.

• SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail [email protected].

Also, there are several other resources and information available for business owners in the wake of Coronavirus.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has compiled helpful information for employers and employees at http://www.business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has also arranged helpful information for workers and employers in regards to sick leave, work scheduling, etc. http://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm.

For those with travel-related businesses or those who benefit from tourism, Visit California has put together a variety of studies and reports on the potential impact of the virus to the industry at http://www.industry.visitcalifornia.com/marketing-communications/coronavirus.

Restaurant owners/managers discuss options moving forward

A group of restaurant owners, managers and employees met at The Shed on March 18 to discuss new practices and ideas amidst COVID-19 precautions. The City of Tehachapi provided an update on the recently-approved utilities payment deferment policy and brainstormed new ideas with restaurants and promotional-opportunities to keep business flowing.

Note from the City of Tehachapi Economic Development Department

Recently, the City of Tehachapi took preventative steps in light of the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic that have changed our business model temporarily.

Be assured however that the Economic Development Department, as well as City management, continues to operate as a service to our businesses and residents. My lines of communication as always are open. I can be reached at (661) 822-2200 ex. 121 during normal business hours and of course via email at [email protected].

I am actively engaging our business community as we all work through these challenging times and look forward to assisting you any way I, or the team at City Hall can. We’re in this together.

For more Economic Development News visit http://www.liveuptehachapi.com/303/Economic-Development-News.