MILO, Maine — The owners of downtown businesses that were burned in a Sept. 14 fire that was ruled an arson are eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Gov. John Baldacci in December requested a disaster declaration to cover Piscataquis, Aroostook, Penobscot and Somerset counties, and his request was honored by SBA’s acting administrator, Sandy K. Baruah. Baruah announced the loan program in a press release Tuesday.
“We look forward to working with the state of Maine making our loans available to small businesses that sustained economic injury due to this fire,” Baruah said in a statement. “We will be swift in our efforts to help the business owners with their working capital needs.”
Eligible small businesses and most private, nonprofit organizations may qualify for loans up to $2 million. The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Interest rates are available at 4 percent with loan terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility for the loans based on the size and type of the business and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.
“We were excited to hear about that declaration,” Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Tuesday afternoon. “It will give some folks the opportunity to help rebuild” so we can get the downtown back in business, he said. Gahagan said he was unsure which owners plan to rebuild, but noted the disaster declaration will open up some opportunities for grant funds as well.
“The SBA can help these small businesses, and most private, nonprofit organizations overcome their economic losses by offering working capital loans, but the help cannot start until they submit an SBA Disaster Loan application to us,” Maurice Dube, SBA’s Maine District director, said in a statement.
Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Business loan applications also can be downloaded from the SBA Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.
Victims may apply for disaster loans from SBA’s secure Web site at https:///disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The deadline for the economic injury application is Oct. 6, 2009.