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Small Business Administration offers loans to businesses hit by 416 Fire

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Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018 4:23 PM
Empty Silverton streets were unfortunately all too common during the 416 Fire. The U.S. Small Business Administration has made its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program available to small businesses and private nonprofits in Silverton, Durango and elsewhere in Colorado and New Mexico.

Small businesses that suffered lost sales because of the 416 Fire and subsequent flooding and debris flows can apply for federal disaster loans.

The Small Business Administration has opened its Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and private nonprofit groups that suffered economic losses, such as lost sales stemming from the wildfire and debris flows.

Bill Koontz, an SBA spokesman, said the deadline to apply for the loans is May 24, 2019.

“The loans are for small businesses that have lost revenue because of the fire,” he said. “They help pay the bills while the small business goes through the recovery process.”

Koontz said there is no cost to apply, and if a loan is granted, he said, the business does not have to accept it.

Loans are offered at no more than 4 percent interest rate and can be granted for a 15- or 30-year term. Loans can be for as much as $2 million.

“You can’t get your hands on cheaper money. That’s pretty much the bottom line,” Koontz said.

Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and private nonprofits in La Plata, San Juan, Archuleta, Montezuma and Dolores counties and all counties contiguous to those counties either in Colorado or New Mexico.

Applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is similar to applying for a bank loan, Koontz said. Applicants will have to provide sales data showing an economic loss when the 416 Fire occurred and they will need to provide tax returns.

“At some moment after June, you will be able to see income dropping. The more information the better,” Koontz said.

The loans apply only to economic losses and do not cover the cost to replace physical structures, infrastructure, buildings or other capital losses caused in the mudslides subsequent to the fire, Koontz said. The loans cover only economic losses – usually lost revenue from declining sales because of the fire and subsequent floods.

Loan terms and amounts are made on a case-by-case basis and are unique to the losses found in the individual businesses, Koontz said.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information about SBA disaster assistance. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The online loan application process, Koontz said, prompts and guides applicants through the process – similar to features found in online tax-preparation websites.

The agency’s loans are particularly useful, Koontz said, because when a business’ sales have dropped, most banks are less likely to make private loans because the business’s future is more in doubt.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

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