Saturday, June 6, 2020
79.3 F
Ocala

Ocala puts $250,000 in loan fund to help small businesses amid COVID-19 crisis

The Ocala City Council on Monday agreed to do its part to help small businesses that are struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilmembers voted to make $250,000 available to the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) for loans of up to $25,000 to some of those businesses. The only caveat was that Council President Jay Musleh sit down with CEP President and CEO Kevin Sheilley to hammer out details and criteria for the loans. The action was taken during an emergency meeting via an online platform that allowed the Councilmembers and city staff to practice social distancing, as everyone participating in the meeting was at a different location.

The City Council’s action follows a similar plan adopted last week by the Marion County Commission. During a similar emergency meeting, the Commission agreed to allot $250,000 to the loan fund, which means up to 20 businesses will be able to secure loans if each is approved for the maximum amount of $25,000.

“It is a start,” Sheilley said at the commission meeting. “It is something that we can do. We think this is a fantastic local response that will help some of our businesses.”

Sheilley said the idea of putting together the loans came about after his staff spoke to local employers.

“They’re concerned about having the cash flow to not only get through the cycle, but to get to the point where they could apply or receive state funds, federal funds, whatever may come from future federal bills,” Sheilley said.

Businesses with 25 or fewer employees as of this past Dec. 31 are eligible to apply for the local loans. A Marion County resident must be the majority owner and the business must have been in operation for at least two years. Eligible businesses also must be non-chain and non-franchise establishments.

The loans would be administered by the CEP’s Foundation, with members of the county’s Industrial Development Authority serving as the review committee. The initial plan calls for 2.5 percent interest to be charged on the 36-month loans. There would be no repayment for the first six months, followed by interest only for the next six months. Principal and interest payments would then kick in and there would be no penalty for early payment.

Those who want to learn more can visit Ocalacep.com.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

Crime

Belleview man nabbed after nasty tiff with gal pal over self-quarantining mom

A Belleview man was jailed Thursday after he became angry the day before and claimed his lady friend was ignoring his mother as she self-quarantined due to possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

UDEST agents prevent felonies and seize drugs during highway enforcement operation

Agents from the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team conducted more than 25 traffic stops during a recent two-day highway enforcement operation.

Silver Springs man arrested after nasty domestic spat

A Silver Springs man is accused of battering a woman who was trying to move out of the room they shared and into another room in the residence.

Ocala man jailed after 15-year-old girl says she was sexually assaulted

An Ocala man was jailed Thursday after being accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

Business

New Ramen House opens doors at State Road 200 location

The new Ramen House has opened its doors at its new location along State Road 200.

Downtown Ocala businesses reopen, many with refurbished digs

Downtown Ocala businesses are reopening this week at reduced capacity, with many having taken the opportunity during quarantine to renovate their establishments.

Leading Marketing Solutions hosting virtual Quarantine Business Expo

The Quarantine Business Expo, hosted by Leading Marketing Solutions, is a virtual event that will serve as a platform for businesses to showcase their services and products to an engaged online audience on May 7 and May 19.

Ocala businesses shutter doors in wake of COVID-19 fallout

Businesses across the city of Ocala shuttered their doors Friday morning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ground the nation to a halt. 

Subscribe for email updates

* indicates required

Headlines

Belleview man nabbed after nasty tiff with gal pal over self-quarantining mom

A Belleview man was jailed Thursday after he became angry the day before and claimed his lady friend was ignoring his mother as she self-quarantined due to possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

UDEST agents prevent felonies and seize drugs during highway enforcement operation

Agents from the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team conducted more than 25 traffic stops during a recent two-day highway enforcement operation.

96-year-old Ocala woman becomes eighth Marion County resident to die of COVID-19

A 96-year-old Ocala woman has been identified as the latest person to succumb to the Coronavirus in Marion County.

New Ramen House opens doors at State Road 200 location

The new Ramen House has opened its doors at its new location along State Road 200.

More articles like this