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Aid available to Fairmont area businesses

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Economic Development Authority this week reviewed three funding sources from the CARES Act.

Local small businesses, non-profits and individuals may apply for appropriate financial assistance in the form of loans or grants from money provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development coordinator, told the FEDA board that the response to its new CARES revolving loan fund, with a total of $671,000, has been positive.

“We do have five or six applications already. There is interest in the program, which is awesome because we need to get that money out there,” she said.

Five-year loans of up to $25,000 are available to small businesses, those with 50 employees or less, at a zero percent interest rate. Loans can be used for working capital, payroll, inventory and utilities. Any money not loaned out after two years must be returned to the federal government, but funds that are used will stay in a local revolving loan fund as loans are repaid.

Additionally, local small businesses and non-profits can apply for grants of up to $10,000 through a joint $1 million collaboration by the city and Martin County. The City Council approved the program Monday, and qualified businesses have until Oct. 2 to apply. Grants must be used for reimbursement for rent or mortgage payments, utilities, personal protective equipment, operating expenses related to reopening and other critical non-payroll expenses incurred between March 1 and Aug. 31.

Anyone with questions about the loan or grant programs may contact Preuss at (507) 238-3925.

“I can help businesses through what will be required,” she said.

She noted that demand for the funding could be heavy.

“There’s about 85 percent of our businesses that fall into the 50 employees or below range,” she said.

The third funding source will tap a pool of $560,000 for Faribault and Martin counties to provide emergency mortgage, rental and utility assistance. This grant program, administered through Human Services, will help with late payments.

“There’s lots of money floating around out there right now. I just hope we can use it. Otherwise, we have to give it back [to the government],” Preuss said.

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