Juneau Assembly considers loans to help small business owners amid coronavirus shutdowns

A woman crosses Marine Way in front of Juneau City Hall on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Update (Thursday, April 2, 5:27 p.m.) — Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO

The Juneau Assembly approved an emergency measure Wednesday night to make up to $3 million of public money available as low- or no-interest loans to qualified businesses. (Read more)

Original story

Small business owners in Juneau could soon be eligible for city-funded loans, but not yet.

The Juneau Assembly discussed an emergency resolution Tuesday night that would provide $3 million in budget reserves to the Juneau Economic Development Council for distribution as loans.

Despite a vote of 6-3, the resolution failed by one vote. There’s a higher bar for emergency appropriations to pass the Assembly — this needed seven votes to pass.

Mayor Beth Weldon and Assembly members Loren Jones, Carole Triem, Rob Edwardson, Wade Bryson and Alicia Hughes-Skandijs voted in favor. Michelle Hale, Maria Gladziszewski and Greg Smith voted against the resolution.

The Assembly can still reconsider the resolution at Wednesday’s special Assembly meeting. Several Assembly members said they supported the idea behind it, but they wanted more time to examine the details.

Assembly member Carole Triem worked on the resolution with Mayor Beth Weldon and city staff. She said businesses in Juneau need immediate relief due to forced closures, and this is one way to help.

In order to apply, businesses cannot have more than 25 employees and must demonstrate that they have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses with 10 or fewer employees would be eligible for a maximum loan of $25,000. Businesses with 11 or more employees are eligible for a maximum loan amount of $50,000.

Business owners awarded loans would be required to make a good faith effort to maintain their payroll the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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