New plan could offer financial help to small, Albany businesses

New plan could offer financial help to small, Albany businesses

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - If you’re a small business owner in Albany, you could be seeing some much needed financial help soon.

While many Albany businesses have closed their doors for good, Downtown Manager Lequrica Gaskins proposed a plan that could provide financial assistance.

Downtown Manager Lequrica Gaskins.
Downtown Manager Lequrica Gaskins. (Source: WALB)

“Those small businesses who are less likely to have access to those CPAs and bankers and attorneys are the ones that are probably going to get left behind,” said Gaskins.

It’s called the Small Business Relief Program. The city has $350,000 in HUD Community Development Block Grants. The city manager’s office suggests the city commission board match these funds for a total of $700,000.

“We want to know how many jobs were created or sustained, we want to know if they were basically able to reopen their doors. There are other variables we are measuring once they get these dollars. We’ll make sure there was a direct positive impact on these small businesses.”

The SBRP would provide help through the small business relief program itself, which would be a grant, not a loan, through utility relief or through the CARES Act. Small business owners will have to meet certain criteria. If eligible, they could receive $2,500 to $10,000

“So we’re going to asses each individual applicant individually to see what their needs are and how we can find ways to help them,” explained Gaskins.

The SBRP could offer businesses flexible payment schedules or even deposit refunds from the utilities office, as well.

“We’re looking at their bottom lines in terms of budgetary parameters, but we’re also looking at the number of employees they’re employing, the number of people they’re keeping employed and we’re also looking at the number of years they’ve had a business within the City of Albany,” said Gaskins.

City commissioners will vote whether to approve the small business relief program at their next meeting on May 26. If approved, the city will then offer webinar information sessions for any interested business owners to learn more about the relief program.

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