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ECIDA offers relief options to businesses hurt by pandemic

As businesses cope with the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency is providing them relief options.

The ECIDA's lending arm, called the Regional Development Corp., is offering emergency relief business loans ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Recipients can use the funds for working capital, accounts payable and receivable, and expenses such as payroll, rent, insurance and utilities.

Many companies are trying to tap into federal business relief programs offered through the Small Business Administration.

"The ECIDA and RDC programs are an add-on tool in the toolbox of financial assistance for Erie County businesses," said John Cappellino, the ECIDA's president and CEO. "Where some federal programs may be limited, our programs may be able to fill in that gap."

To qualify for the Regional Development Corp.'s loans, businesses must be based in Erie County and have had at least five full-time employees prior to March 1.

The interest rate for the emergency loans is 2.5%, the lowest allowable rate under federal oversight of the program. Businesses approved for the loans can make interest-only payments for up to 12 months.

The total size of the fund is $2 million, including $500,000 carved out for retail businesses.

The ECIDA this week reported it had sent out 13 applications for the emergency relief loans to companies which had requested them.

Separately, the ECIDA is offering up to $100,000 in sales tax savings on the purchase of nonproduction equipment and construction materials, for purchases with a maximum value of $1.1 million.

Companies must meet the agency's standard eligibility requirements to obtain the incentive. That program was rolled out on Monday.

"The ECIDA is also working with our existing loan clients to provide relief during the current economic crisis," County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. "We are offering assistance to our tax incentivized clients to ensure that they will not be negatively impacted just because they can't meet their workforce requirements at this time."

For now, the agency is not enforcing its "clawback" provisions for companies receiving incentives but fall below their job targets.

The ECIDA can be contacted about its business relief programs at 856-6525, Ext. 219. Details about the programs are available on the ECIDA's website.

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