AC JosepH Media
BRIDGETON — Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency and his Democratic running mates Donna Pearson and Tracey Wells-Huggins Friday proposed a county-funded micro loan plan to rescue small businesses in Cumberland County through the coronavirus pandemic.
The group’s COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Stabilization Loan Fund, based after a plan in Mecklenburg County, N.C., would dedicate $5 million for small businesses up to 50 employees in Cumberland County.
The business owners can apply for loans from $5,000 to $35,000, covering day-to-day operating expenses such as payroll, rent, routine real estate and equipment financing, utilities or losses due to destabilizing events.
“If you own a barber shop or nail salon or dry cleaners, this program is for you,” Surrency (D-Bridgeton) said in a statement about the proposal. “If you were put to the end of the line of the federal SBA program or never even got in line due to the lack of resources, this program is for you.”
The loans would be available with up to 10-year loan terms at an interest rate of 3 percent.
“This program can serve as a bridge for Cumberland County small businesses,” said Pearson, a former freeholder. “Access to financing, like this, will determine if these small businesses ever open their doors again.”
The county would have the Cumberland County Improvement Authority administer the program in partnership with a local community bank, according to the proposal. The county will be active in all phases of the loan application and approval process.
“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy,” said Wells-Huggins, a registered nurse. “We need to be there for them in their time of need.”
Surrency is running for re-election while Pearson and Wells-Huggins are trying to gain a seat on the Cumberland County Freeholder board in the Democratic primary July 7.
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