As part of their commitment to helping small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced the County will continue to offer to defer all loan repayments for businesses participating in its small business assistance programs.
The Freeholders intend to offer deferrals of all new and existing loans for businesses participating in either the County’s Small Business Loan Program and its Route 130 Revolving Loan Program.
In addition to deferring payments, the Burlington County Bridge Commission, the agency that administers both loan programs, will continue waiving the agency’s $200 application fee for both programs.
“The coronavirus pandemic is still active and has caused economic upheaval the likes that few businesses have ever experienced. Now is not the time for the county to try to collect from our mom and pop shops and Main Street employers who need working capital and cash in order to make payroll and continue operations,” said Freeholder Tom Pullion, the board’s deputy director and liaison to the Bridge Commission and its Economic Development wing. “Offering to defer payments and waive application fees is one way we can help them carry on through these difficult times.”
The two loan programs are both designed to assist small businesses located in Burlington County, as well as start-ups and businesses seeking to relocate into the county.
Businesses within the Route 130 regional corridor are eligible for zero-interest loans through the Revolving Loan program. The Small Business Loan Program provides low-interest lending to county businesses in and outside the Route 130 corridor.
To date, the two programs have provided loans to more than 30 businesses in the county and supported the creation or retention of more than 300 jobs. Currently, there are six loans in the Route 130 Revolving Fund program and 19 loans in the Small Business Loan Program, including six that were finalized last month by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.
The newest loan recipients are True Value Hardware in Medford, Moore Funeral Home in Bordentown, Able Technology in Burlington City, the Jug Handle Inn in Cinnaminson, MS Moving & Storage in Palmyra and Summit Spinal Care in Moorestown.
“The pandemic has created challenges for everyone, but especially our small businesses. They’ve been forced to close or drastically change their operations in order to help keep us all safe and healthy,” said Bridge Commission Chair Hon. Troy Singleton. “I’m incredibly proud that the Freeholders, led by Deputy Director Pullion, are taking this common-sense action to give businesses some additional relief, and I encourage more businesses to reach out to see how our economic development team at the Bridge Commission can assist them.”
Both loan programs allow businesses to use the loans for working capital and purchases and can help businesses retain jobs that might be loss due to cash shortages during the pandemic.
Unlike commercial loans or U.S. Small Business Association loans, the county programs have no closing costs, and its low rates are fixed.
Both programs require sufficient collateral as security but carry no penalty for prepayments.
The loans are intended to give businesses flexibility and carry few stipulations compared to commercial financing or federal and state assistance programs.
“We know small businesses are the backbone of our economy so it’s important for all levels of government to work together to help them,” Singleton said. “These loan programs are a showcase for that concept and provide the helping hand our businesses need.”
Pullion said the business loans were a critical part of the County’s COVID-19 response that has also included free COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, nutrition assistance and the distribution of personal protective equipment to first responders and long-term care facilities.
“From free COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to distributing protective equipment and food boxes and helping businesses, Burlington County and its partners have responded, and we will continue to do so for however long the pandemic lasts,” Freeholder Pullion said.
More information about the county loan programs and other resources for businesses is available online at bcbridges.org/financial-resources-programs/ or by calling the Bridge Commission’s Office of Economic Development and Regional Planning at 609-265-5055.